Frequently Asked Questions
+ What Is Sacred Sector Fellowship?
Sacred Sector Fellowship is a unique learning community that equips seminarians for a meaningful career in the faith-based nonprofit sector. The fellowship pairs participants with faith-based nonprofits in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area to provide hands-on experience and apply concepts learned during a five-day intensive. Sacred Sector Fellowship equips seminarians with skills and experience to become tomorrow’s emerging leaders in the faith-based nonprofit sector.
+ Who is eligible to apply for Sacred Sector Fellowship?
Current and recently graduated seminarians are invited to apply for the Sacred Sector Fellowship. Ideal candidates have a desire to innovate within the faith-based sector, to gain organizational leadership skills, and to better understand how faith-based nonprofits can fully exercise their religious mission in everything they do. Applications should reflect an interest in the connection between faith-based nonprofits and public policy, organizational best practices and public relations. Applicants should also be interested in or willing to learn about the role religious freedom and responsibility plays in empowering faith-based nonprofits to advance their missions.
+ What is the format of the program?
Sacred Sector Fellowship combines classroom-style learning intensives with real-world workplace experience. Fellows will spend one week participating in the classroom component. Then, they will apply what they have learned during a nine-week placement with a faith-based organization or house of worship. During this time, Fellows will work with their host organizations to develop a plan to more fully integrate their mission into their public policy engagement, organizational practices and public communications. The program will end with a two-day debrief with all the Fellows, which includes a final exhortation from the program staff.
+ What is the curriculum for Sacred Sector Fellowship?
Sacred Sector Fellows will learn a holistic framework called the Three P’s to integrate and fully embody their sacred mission in every area of their organization, including Public Policy, Organizational Best Practices and Public Positioning. Participants will learn to apply this framework in six key areas through Sacred Sector Toolboxes, which offer a deep-dive on topics that include religious staffing, government partnerships, positive engagement in the public square, nondiscrimination laws, advocacy and lobbying, and family-supportive workplaces. Fellows will also learn from the Standards for Excellence® Code, a national initiative that promotes ethical practices and accountability in nonprofit organization.
+ Is there a cost to be part of Sacred Sector Fellowship?
There is no cost to participate. Each Sacred Sector Fellow will receive a $5,000 stipend which can be used to cover lodging, travel and living expenses in the Western Michigan area. Meals during the one-week learning intensive will be covered by the program.
+ Does Sacred Sector Fellowship provide lodging in Grand Rapids?
Sacred Sector is unable to provide accommodations for Fellows during the one-week learning intensive or nine weeks of field experience. However, program staff will work with Fellows to identify lodging options for their stay. Participants should not let logistical concerns hinder their decision to apply.
+ How selective is the Sacred Sector Fellowship?
The program is designed to be competitive. Sacred Sector is focused on recruiting and accepting top-tier seminarians (both current and recently graduated) who successfully complete the application and interview process. Sacred Sector Fellowship is designed to attract candidates who feel a call to the faith-based nonprofit sector. The application questions are designed to help candidates demonstrate their interests in learning best practices for faith-based nonprofits and to think about ways they desire to live out their sacred callings. Sacred Sector Fellowship aims to build a cohort of 12 participants. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis leading up to the start of the program in June.
+ When and where does Sacred Sector Fellowship take place?
The Sacred Sector Fellowship is a 10-week program that features one week of learning intensives, followed by nine weeks of working in a faith-based nonprofit setting. The Sacred Sector Fellowship will feature a distinct cohort of participants each year, rotating regionally each year. The next cohort will be based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
2018 – Washington D.C.
2019 – Grand Rapids, Michigan.
2020 – West Coast
2019 Fellows are required to work with a faith-based nonprofit or church located in the Western Michigan unless they seek special permission on a limited basis.
+ How are students partnered with faith-based organizations?
Sacred Sector staff will work directly with students to identify an organization of interest. For example, staff will work with participants who desire to work with an organization with a specific mission focus (i.e. mental health, substance abuse, a house of worship) or with a particular theological identity. While we cannot guarantee placement with an organization that meets all of a Fellow’s specific preferences, we work collaboratively to match students with organizations that are committed to Sacred Sector’s mission and goals. Seminarians already connected to a faith-based organization may choose to utilize a pre-existing partnership as part of this fellowship, pending approval from Sacred Sector staff.
+ How is the Sacred Sector Fellowship funded?
Sacred Sector Fellowship is an initiative of the Center for Public Justice, and is made possible by the generous support of the Templeton Religion Trust. Learn more at CPJustice.org.
+ I don't think I fit the main criteria. Can I still apply?
Absolutely! We recognize that not all students fit the same mold. If you are located in a different part of the country from where the cohort is taking place, please reach out to us. Perhaps you would benefit from participating sooner than when the cohort will be taking place in your region of the country. Maybe you’re a nontraditional student, part-time student or second-career seminarian. Perhaps you’re already working in a faith-based nonprofit that you think could benefit from this program. Please know there is a flexibility. Contact Sacred Sector Program Coordinator Virginia Creasy here.