PULPIT, a two year program focused on strengthening and supporting pastors and church leaders in the Philadelphia metro region, with the aim of producing healthier pastors and church leaders (personally and professionally), kicked off its first Retreat in The Conference Center of Valley Forge. Cohort 1, consisting of seventeen pastors and church leaders, was welcomed by Rev. Valerie Andrews, PULPIT program director, Dr. Taunya Tinsley and Dr. Kyuboem Lee, and greeted with gracious hospitality by Dr. Darshi Mody.

We were blessed to have Dr. William H. Curtis, senior pastor of Mount Ararat Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, who served as our opening guest preacher and conference facilitator. Steering committee member and Missio Board Member, Dr. Damone B. Jones, was led by the Spirit to provide our closing Word, based on Isaiah 26:3. The three cohort leaders, Rev. Betty Wright-Riggins, Dr. Dave Wiedis, and Dr. Keith Reed met with their small cohort members and shared their wisdom throughout our time together. Reverand Paul Zazzo, led us into a powerful fellowship of Communion, as we came to the table remembering the finished work of Jesus Christ.

The retreat was brought to a close by Dr. Taunya Tinsley who anointed the group, while Dr. Chandra Williams, steering committee member, provided the benediction. Our guest Minister of Music, was Minister Tameka Ferebee of Philadelphia, and the clergy were given opportunities to receive chair massages (promoting self-care) by Massage Therapist Sharron McFaddin.

This program is part of a 5-year grant, and we are currently accepting applications for Cohort 2.