ESR hires alumni duo to lead Quaker Center for Transformational Congregational Leadership

Earlham School of Religion has hired a pair of outstanding alumni to lead its new Quaker Center for Transformational Congregational Leadership. Della Stanley-Green from the Class of 1990 is the new director and Andy Stanton-Henry, from the Class of 2018, is the new associate director, sharing one full-time position.

The Quaker Center for Transformational Congregational Leadership will offer “educational and development opportunities to persons who are already congregational leaders and to support students entering congregational leadership.” Established in 1960 as a graduate theological division of Earlham College, ESR is the pre-eminent Quaker seminary in the United States. The Center is being funded with a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative, which is designed to help theological schools in the U.S. and Canada prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face as they prepare pastoral leaders now and into the future.

“The Center will be uniquely positioned to develop partnerships across a richly diverse Quaker theological spectrum and enhance ESR’s capacity for fundraising,” ESR Dean Gretchen Castle said.

Della Stanley-Green
Andy Stanton-Henry

Stanley-Green earned a Master of Ministry from ESR, a bachelor’s degree from Friends University in Wichita, Kan., and holds a graduate diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction. She continues to serve both as a spiritual director and adjunct professor, in addition to having recently served as co-superintendent of Western Yearly Meeting in Plainfield, Ind., where she has been recorded as a minister of the gospel among Friends. She has served on Earlham’s Board of Trustees and the ESR Board of Advisors. 

“I want to continue to be involved in ministry that will help Friends grow and move into a vital future,” Stanley-Green said. “I firmly believe that Friends have rich spiritual gifts God has given to us that need to be shared among the various branches of the Friends family and beyond to the larger Church and broader religious and spiritual communities.” 

Stanley-Green has worked with Lilly Endowment-funded projects before, and she understands the challenges of getting a new program started, which includes connecting with constituents, communicating the vision, and sustaining the work. 

Stanton-Henry earned the Master of Divinity at ESR with an emphasis on Peace and Justice Studies. He previously attended Portland Seminary in Oregon, where he studied spiritual formation and spiritual direction, and he has returned to Portland for his Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Spiritual Formation. He graduated from Barclay College in Haviland, KS with a Bachelor of Science in Bible and Theology. Andy has served as Pastor of Leadership Support and Development at North Valley Friends Church in Newburg, Ore., and is founder and director of Recovering Abundance Ministries which ministers to rural pastors and church leaders. His book, Recovering Abundance: Twelve Practices for Small Town Leaders has been published by Fortress Press.

“I care deeply about the future of Friends,” Stanton-Henry said. “I bring experience with a wide variety of Quaker expressions.”

Both directors recently attended a conference in Pittsburgh for Pathways for Tomorrow grantees conducted by the Association of Theological Schools.

Earlham received a nearly $50,000 grant from Lilly Endowment in the first phase of the Pathways to Tomorrow Initiative. Two consultants collaborated with ESR faculty and students to interview dozens of alumni, leaders in Quaker Meetings and other denominations throughout the country, to discern ways the seminary can adapt its educational programs to meet the challenges. In phase II, Earlham received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment to develop the new Quaker Center.

As part of the Center’s initial work, the directors will form an advisory group based in partnerships among a uniquely broad and perhaps unprecedented representation of the Society of Friends. The directors will also plan a conference designed to encourage dialogue between different branches of Quakerism. Existing academic programs in Entrepreneurial Ministry and Bivocational Ministry certificates will function as a foundation for the Center, offering non-credit certificates and continuing education opportunities in these areas in addition to Quaker leadership content.

“As a Quaker, it is exciting to see ESR take a leading role in defining the future of ministry in fresh and innovative ways,” says Anne M. Houtman, president of Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion. “Della and Andy will play a key part in shaping that future, and I am excited that they are joining us in this effort.”

Friends United MeetingEverenceWestern Yearly Meeting, and Bethany Theological Seminary are among the organizations partnering with ESR on this major initiative.

About the Lilly Endowment

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The primary aim of its grant-making in religion, which is national in scope, focuses on strengthening the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States. The Endowment also seeks “to foster public understanding about religion and lift up in fair, accurate and balanced ways the contributions of people of all faiths and religious communities make to our greater civic well-being.

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Brown Mujete
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