The PINNE (Pastoral Innovation Network of New England) initiative creates a cross-denominational innovation hub, where 20 creative, early-career clergy interact with experienced coaches to highlight effective approaches to ministry in the New England context. In ten gatherings over two years, pastor participants will problem solve, identify resources, grow professionally, maximize their creative and innovative potential, and move toward their visions for ministry revitalization. This network will enhance participants’ customized and contextualized efforts toward innovation through coaching, conversations around pastoral challenges, the voluntary undertaking of a project of congregational change, and opportunities to mentor one another. PINNE thus facilitates adaptive engagement with the unique ministry challenges of New England, and also seeks to improve ministry across New England by disseminating the learnings to clergy and denominations in the region.


  • To develop clergy as thriving ministry leaders, mentors of other clergy, and recognized trend setters within the region.
  • To provide a creative and supportive space, gatherings, and cross-denominational network to facilitate new ideas and energy for ministry where creative clergy can be nurtured and flourish.
  • To encourage entrepreneurial, early career clergy to innovate new approaches within their ministries, and test these ideas and share their results.
  • To create cross-connections among clergy over the artificial boundaries of denomination with the realization that all Mainline traditions within New England face similar challenges.
  • To disseminate findings and provide practical instructional resources on ministry thriving and innovation to the New England region.


This is an opportunity for pastors to share what is working in their ministries, wrestle over solutions for seemingly insurmountable challenges, build authentic and trusting relationships, risk failure, and learn from mistakes in an encouraging environment. Each gathering should leave each participant encouraged, refreshed, and inspired toward action.

The Clergy Participants

Nominees to the program should be early-career senior church leaders from Mainline Protestant denominations in New England who are in the first 3-10 years of their ministry career. The twenty participants selected will be chosen to ensure diversity of ministry placement, racial, gender, sexual orientation, denominational, and locational context. Participants should demonstrate a track record of creative competency and show potential for innovative and entrepreneurial ministry.

Expectation for Participants

Nominees will:

  • Be early career (3-10 years ministry experience) Mainline Protestant senior church leaders, serving in the New England region
  • Demonstrate creative competency and potential for innovative and entrepreneurial ministry
  • Demonstrate personal energy and optimism toward ministry in New England
  • Articulate the challenges facing their communities and churches
  • Engage contextual realities, working toward creative solutions to ministry challenges
  • Articulate a deep sense of calling or vocation


Program participation includes a commitment to:

  • Participate in all ten required gatherings and engage in (cohort determined) between-meeting activities
  • Fully and actively contribute to each gathering, cultivating a supportive, peer-learning environment
  • Identify the critical issues facing their communities, churches, and societies
  • Conduct a pre- and post-survey with his or her local congregation, to better understand the context of ministry and congregational dynamics
  • Respond faithfully and creatively to the contextual realities within their congregations
  • Complete a yearlong project of congregational change in their setting (encouraged, yet optional)
  • Serve as a mentor to future PINNE program clergy cohorts (optional)
  • Participate in interviews and other interactions to develop clergy profiles, best practices, and case studies to create resources that will disseminate program learnings across New England

Gatherings and Topics

Each gathering will bring together the cohort of twenty clergy, and will include time for plenary sessions and discussion. This engagement includes participation in 10 face-to-face gatherings at Hartford Seminary, including a summer conference. Participants simultaneously join a smaller group of four clergy and a coach, and will forge opportunities for through social media and/or video calls between the formal gathering dates. Clergy participants will receive an honorarium of $500 per each gathering (10 total) and reimbursement for mileage travel expenses.


The topical challenges to be addressed throughout the gatherings may include some of the following, but the exact list will be left up to the discretion of the group:

  • The attraction of young adults
  • The integration of new members
  • Development of greater sensitivity to and ministry of multiethnic, multiracial constituents
  • The greater incorporation of busy families into the life of the congregation
  • The creation of passionate missional outreach into the community
  • The effective utilization of technology to enhance ministry
  • The funding of programs and projects with a dwindling donor pool
  • Branding and marketing approaches as an evangelistic strategy
  • Ways of addressing building challenges

Application Requirements

Applications must include the following:

  • Applicant information: Using the online form, provide details about your congregation, ministry experience, and demographic information
  • Curriculum Vitae or resume (no more than 4 pages)
  • Letter of Intent: In 3-4 pages, describe your qualifications, ministry context (opportunities and challenges), and creative approaches. At least half of the letter should describe your most innovative and creative approaches to ministry in your context
  • Letter of Recommendation: When uploading your application requirements, please provide the name, email address, and phone number for your recommender. The recommender should be able to speak specifically to your 1) personal qualities and commitments, 2) leadership style, 3) record of creativity and innovation. The Hartford Institute for Religion Research will email recommenders a link to confidentially submit their letters online. Applicants should contact their recommenders in advance to explain procedures and guidelines.


All documents must be submitted by May 6, 2019. Upload each requirement in .pdf format. Recommenders must submit their letters by May 20, 2019. Questions about eligibility or the nomination and application processes should be sent to Allison Norton:

Review and Selection Process

Hartford Seminary and Hartford Institute for Religion Research will appoint a selection committee to review applications. The committee membership and deliberations are confidential. The applicants whose applications are not selected for participation will be notified by email as soon as possible following the adjudication process. Application status will be announced on or before June 3, 2019.