Frequently Asked Questions

+ What Is Sacred Sector Fellowship?

Sacred Sector Fellowship is an initiative to equip seminarians for a meaningful career in the faith-based nonprofit sector. The fellowship pairs participants with faith-based nonprofits in the Washington D.C. area to provide hands-on experience and apply concepts learned during a ten-day intensive. Sacred Sector Fellowship equips seminarians with skills and experience to be an emerging leader 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 Sacred Sector Fellowship. Ideal candidates want to engage in innovative work in the faith-based sector, gain organizational leadership skills and 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 two weeks in Washington D.C. for the classroom component, and then will apply what they have learned during an eight-week placement with a faith-based organization or house of worship located in Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C. During their placement, they will help their organization assess how it is advancing its sacred mission in the areas the Fellows covered in the intensive. During this time, Fellows will work with their partner 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 organizers.

+ What is the curriculum for Sacred Sector Fellowship?

Participating Sacred Sector Fellows will learn and apply a holistic framework for guiding a faith-based organization to embody its religious freedom by living out its faith-based mission. This learning community equips seminarians to adopt a holistic framework called the Three P’s to integrate and fully embody their sacred mission in every area of their organization, including how to Engage in Public Policy, Adopt Organizational Best Practices and use strategic 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 policies.

+ 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. Meals during the two-week learning intensive (based in Washington D.C.) will be covered by the program.

+ Does Sacred Sector Fellowship provide lodging in Washington D.C.?

Sacred Sector is unable to provide accommodations / house participants during the two-week learning intensive in Washington D.C. However, program organizers will work with Fellows to identify lodging options for their stay.

+ How selective is the Sacred Sector Fellowship?

The program is designed to be competitive, 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 interest 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?

Sacred Sector Fellowship is a 10-week program that features two weeks of learning intensives followed by eight weeks of working in a faith-based nonprofit setting. Sacred Sector Fellowship will feature a distinct cohort of participants each year, beginning in 2018, with participating organizations rotating regionally each year.

Year 1 – Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. Year 2 – Midwest Year 3 – West Coast

Year one Fellows are required to work with a faith-based nonprofit or church located in the Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C. area, unless they seek special permission on a limited basis.

+ How are students partnered with faith-based organizations?

Sacred Sector organizers will work directly with students to identify an organization of interest. This could include a desire to work with an organization with a specific mission focus (i.e. mental health, substance abuse or 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 proactively to partner students with organizations that are committed to the mission and goals of Sacred Sector. 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 organizers.

+ How is the Sacred Sector Fellowship funded?

Sacred Sector Fellowship is an initiative of the Center for Public Justice made possible by the generous support of Templeton Religion Trust.

+ 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 flexibility.

+ Is there anything available to print out for seminary career offices or job fairs?

Yes! You can download a printable version of the overview and agenda here.