We Welcome Austin’s 2018 Cohort!

Growing Faithfully, Together

“Our first Austin cohort brings together strong leaders from across the area. Each in a distinct way, we are considering how to navigate change: change in the American religious landscape, changes in staff roles or our own roles, change in our congregations’ sense of identity. We are diverse in denomination, life stage and gender. We are senior pastors, solo pastors, associate pastors and co pastors. Some of us carry a wealth of experience from vocational ministry, and others of us serve informed by previous career experience in engineering, law enforcement, corporate business, or service with the Marine Corps.

We hope our time dedicated to leadership development and mutual support will lift us up as people, strengthen us and the communities we pastor, and ultimately benefit our wider community. As we are growing together, we keep a steady eye on how we might faithfully serve Central Texas together!” – Rev. Carrie Graham, Cohort Facilitator


Meet the Cohort!

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Carrie Graham

Facilitator, The Church Lab

“I said yes to being the facilitator of this cohort because I am passionate about supporting ministers and helping them thrive in their lives and service.”

Candice Combs

Cohort Member, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

“I said yes to being a member of this cohort because I was looking to build a colleague group, work as a cohort in the city, and to grow my leadership and pastoral skills.”

Stephanie Cooper

Cohort Member, University Baptist Church

“I said yes to being a member of this cohort because of the opportunity to connect with clergy, be around people who get it, and to learn and grow from a shared table.”

Katy Fitzgold

Cohort Member, Oak Hill United Methodist Church

“I said yes to being a member of this cohort because, simply, the Spirit made it clear that I’m supposed to. Ten years into full-time ministry and I just know I need ‘this’ without fully even understanding what ‘this’ is.”

Eric Gates

Cohort Member, Central Christian Church of Austin

“I was invited by a friend and colleague to join the cohort. After she explained the purpose of the group, I said ‘yes’ and became encouraged to develop more genuine relationships with other colleagues in ministry.”

Matt Gaventa

Cohort Member, University Presbyterian Church

“I said yes to being a member of this cohort because it felt like a good way of broadening my clergy connections in Austin. I am one year into this call and, while I have made strides connecting with other Presbyterians, I need more ecumenical relationships.”

Treighton Haddon

Cohort Member, St. John's Presbyterian Church

“I said yes to being a member of this cohort because I have heard wonderful things about the possibilities this cohort can bring. I think it will help in the development and forming of my ministry, especially since I am within my first 3 months of ordained ministry.”

Cheryl Kimble

Cohort Member, Highland Park Baptist Church

“I sad yes to being a part of this cohort because I am interested in better knowing ministers in my community and having a sounding board for ideas and an opportunity for spiritual growth.”

Elizabeth McLean

Cohort Member, First Presbyterian Church of Austin

“I said yes to being a member of this cohort because I have been searching for a cohort for the last 15 years or so. I have sought to create a group of pastors, but with each iteration, I could not create a group who was as committed to the idea as I have been. Clearly, God was telling me it was not mine to create!”

Dave Phillips

Cohort Member, Friedens United Church of Christ

“I said yes to being a member of this cohort because I believe that participating in this cohort will provide viable opportunities for vocational and personal growth.”

Sonja Phillips

Cohort Member, Friedens United Church of Christ

“I said yes to being a member of this cohort because when I received the invitation to consider becoming part of a cohort I felt like it was an answer to prayer. For the last year, I have been seeking some sort of program, training, experience for professional and spiritual growth. The referral to the Macedonian Ministry cohort program came from a respected colleague which solidified my interested in participating in this program.”

Kelly Shoenfelt

Cohort Member, Servant Church Austin

“I said yes to being a part of this cohort because I am early in my ministry and need all the support I can get from other clergy colleagues who understand the unique challenges clergy face, the isolation of clergy life, and the need to balance personal and vocational growth and leadership. The chance to have fun, learn, and travel with an amazing group of peers was a huge draw for me, as well!”

Natalie Webb

Cohort Member, Covenant Baptist Church

“I said yes to being a member of this cohort because I need support and community in the pastoral world. I like the structure that the group provides as well as the potential for meaningful relationships.”

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