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$5M Pathways for Tomorrow grant awarded to Palm Beach Atlantic University

Bryce Darby, graduated in 2022 with a Master of Arts in Christian studies, reads from a Bible in PBA's DeSantis Family Chapel.

Photo by Palm Beach Atlantic University

Palm Beach Atlantic University is offering a new program within the School of Ministry with $5 million from the Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative.

The Community Transformation and Chaplaincy program provides an interdisciplinary concentration for those seeking a master of divinity degree, designed to prepare graduates for employment in fields that overlap with ministry, including hospital, hospice, military and corporate chaplaincy.

The program “places PBA and South Florida at the forefront of theological education,” said program director Ryan Gladwin. “It prepares students not only to be pastoral theologians, like traditional theological education models, but also empowers them to be instruments for social change, trauma healing and economic empowerment.”

The program offers accredited clinical pastoral education (CPE) training and works with the Urban Renewal Center, a Black-led, church-based organization in Norfolk, Virginia.

Those partnerships are meant to facilitate a key objective of the program: to expand urban CPE nationwide.

The Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative seeks to help U.S. and Canadian schools prepare Christian pastoral leaders.

The funding for the PBA program comes from the final phase of the three-phase initiative. Phase 3 grants support large-scale, collaborative efforts that push the boundaries of theological education.

Graduates can pursue careers in community organizations outside congregations, from small, community-based nonprofits to large-scale public-private partnerships and corporations, where they can make meaningful change through pastoring.

“Theological education struggles to respond to the different demands and needs of those seeking to be leaders in the ever-more-diverse church communities,” Gladwin said. “This program will directly impact communities throughout South Florida and make the PBA School of Ministry an innovative leader in theological education.”

The Community Transformation and Chaplaincy program resembles Florida Memorial University’s Lift Every Voice program, which was launched six months ago by PBA with a $1 million Lilly Endowment grant.


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