9600 to empower independent theologian

$5,853 of $96k goal

Raised by 88 people in 27 months

9600 faithful people can fuel innovation in Catholic ministry!

I am asking for your support at the $10 level to retire my academic debt so that I have freedom to work as an independent Catholic theologian.

In my late 30s, I took an incredible leap and closed down my marketing communications firm, packed up my home and kids with my spouse, and changed careers to lead a national ministry serving innovation in the Catholic community. It was one of the craziest and best decisions of my life.

I'm now 55. I completed my PhD in ecclesiology, liturgical theology, and organizational leadership theory this past year. I am now looking at what's next. What I want to do almost as much as I want to breathe is to create "new wineskins" for the leadership of Pope Francis. What I mean by that is to work with practitioners -- aka the folks tilling the ministry field -- to develop new, inclusive approaches to ministry that make a difference. Many of these will be relevant beyond the boundaries of Catholicism.

Ministry innovation projects include:

* Developing new ways to engage and include adults in early professional life and early parenting in the life of the Church
* Empowering Ministry professionals from marginalized cultures in delineating a new three-phase paradigm that fuels the creation of inter-cultural, not multi-cultural, parishes. 
* Generating a better understanding of what it means to lead through inclusion, partnership and dialogue.
* Transforming how parishes do welcome on the high feasts of the Church (Easter and Christmas).
* Presenting the Church with an interest-based model for working with teens in parishes that engages all adults of the parish as potential contributors.

And that's just what I've scoped for myself in the past six months. There is so much more!

What I would like to do (this outrageous "ask") is find 9600 faithful people who believe in me and/or these projects to contribute $10 each to retire my academic debt from my M.Div. and my Ph.D. 

Who would want to help me achieve this freedom?

* People who believe in the power of faith expressed in community.
* People who want to see new ministry approaches that are reality-based and drawn from best practices.
* People who are unhappy with the disenfranchisement of women leaders within the diocesan and parish system.

I am working with a cluster of folks in the Twin Cities to fuel five-year support for my leadership as a fully funded independent theologian as well as the funds needed to research and model the projects I've described. I am clear that this work cannot be done within the confines and restrictions of an institution, nor can it be developed sufficiently under the auspices of a publishing company. AND I know that the financial burden of my academic debt is an impediment for me in working on a grassroots, entrepreneurial basis.

When Jesus' disciples were devastated and cowering in fear, he sent the Spirit upon them so that they could go out and do the work for which he had commissioned them. I ask you to help me in retiring this debt so that I will be even freer to make brave choices in pursuing the work to which I feel profoundly called.

What I can give in return:

In return, if you'd like, I will put you on an email list for daily, original reflections that I will write starting in Advent, Nov. 20, 2014.

If you contribute to me at the $100 level, I will give you a copy of one of the books I have underway, your choice. 

If you contribute at the $500 level, I will send you a copy of every book I write until I die. I hope that's going to be a lot of books. (In fact, I hope by the end you are ahead a few dollars!)

If you contribute at an even higher level, I do a workshop for the community of your choice on a topic such as empowering collaboration and dialogue in faith communities at no cost other than travel expenses.

Finally, if this effort exceeds my personal need, I am going to put the additional money in a fund under the non-profit my partners and I are regenerating. This money will be disbursed by the board as a debt relief fund available to others in Catholic ministry who are burdened in paying for their education while holding low-paying ministry positions. There is, literally, a scandalous absense of funding available for theological education in our tradition, with the pointed exception of celibate men, who are fully funded in their seminary and doctoral educational pursuits.

Thank you for considering this request. I would be profoundly grateful if you would share this extensively with people in your life who might generously support me.

+ Read More
Update 6
20 months ago
Hello to all the amazing friends and family who supported me on this very important gofundme. When I first put it out, I had no idea that a car accident would be imminent. It was literally a lifesaver to have this tuition fundsitting there at my disposal. Perhaps a work of the Holy Spirit! I just want to update you that because I'm still grappling with the concussion (I am in the traumatic brain injury program at the Hennepin County medical center) I cannot realistically start my reflections at the end of this month. I'm hoping to do so in the beginning of the new year, date to be determined. I asked for your patience. I considered this outreach a subscription program as well as a funding program. And I have every plan to deliver on that promise. Let me please underline that this is not a request for additional support. I just wanted to keep you apprised of what's going on and ask for your prayers. I have been assured that I will make a complete and total recovery within the next 3 to 6 months. Again, my deepest thanks and appreciation for your support.
+ Read More
Update 5
26 months ago
This morning at 5 a.m. I picked up the NCR only to discover that Nicole's column on pay inequity in the Church, which opens by mentioning this GoFundMe, is on the cover! Wow. I was very moved. The most recent gift two days ago (thank you Chuck!) got me to the point where a full year of my loan payments are covered. I can't begin to thank all of you enough. I am so grateful.

One thing that Nicole's mention was not able to say was that I am not looking for charity, but parity. My desire is to ask for many small contributions (9200!) for which I will provide the services you saw on my page. If any of you are willing, I would welcome support from you in the form of outreach to others regarding this small way of supporting me. My HS classmates, college classmates, grad school classmates, friends, family -- all of you might be able to set this in motion in the viral way that is needed. The Georgetown Alum community alone could do it, if I could find a way to reach broadly!

Why am I doing this crazy outreach? Because the debt we are shouldering, along with Nora's college debt and the obligation we will have with Justin and Mairead, are simply too great for people as ANCIENT as Pete and me! All kidding aside, our student loan payments right now are only about $100 less than our mortgage.

Right now, I'm in conversation with the founders of the Leaven Center, a Catholic Publisher, and a prestigious Catholic University about a collaborative series of projects. This may take a few month to come together, but I am very excited.

Again, thank you for your support in anyway you have provided it. I ask for your prayers in my discernment in the days ahead as I look for where God wants me to serve, and how.

Fondly,
Trish

+ Read More
Update 4
26 months ago
I am profoundly moved that my friend Nicole responded to this creative and audacious effort of mine by trying to build awareness of the bigger issue of compensation for lay leaders. My great dilemma is wanting to continue to be of service to ministry and parishes. With the downturn in budgets and the absence of places for creative work, that goal requires an entrepreneurial approach! Nicole, I am so grateful to you!

http://ncronline.org/blogs/young-voices/churchs-wage-gap
+ Read More
Update 3
27 months ago
100 People visited this page yesterday. WOW! I hope they all scrolled down to see what this audacious effort is all about. Heartfelt thanks to all of you (151!) who shared it! I'm 3% to goal: That is 6 loan payments! If you'd like a taste of my reflections, see my blog: http://trishsullivanvanni.com/
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Help spread the word!
 188 total shares
Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.

$5,853 of $96k goal

Raised by 88 people in 27 months
Created April 29, 2014
MJ
$10
Mary Jo Jeppesen
18 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Anonymous
19 months ago (Monthly Donation)
$10
Anonymous
20 months ago (Monthly Donation)
MJ
$10
Mary Jo Jeppesen
21 months ago (Monthly Donation)
MJ
$10
Mary Jo Jeppesen
22 months ago (Monthly Donation)
MJ
$10
Mary Jo Jeppesen
23 months ago (Monthly Donation)
PZ
$25
patricia zenchak
24 months ago

Trish you are amazing and the heartfelt work you do is so important! Thank you! Patty Z.

+ Read More
$50
Anonymous
24 months ago
MJ
$10
Mary Jo Jeppesen
24 months ago (Monthly Donation)
SZ
$40
Sue Zelt
25 months ago

This is a gift from all of us - Pat, Liam and Aidan! Go Minister Dr. Trish!

+ Read More
Be the first to leave a comment on this campaign.
  Use My Facebook Account
or
Or, use your email…
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
https://gofundme.com/trishvanni
or
 Send a Text Message
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now
 Share on Facebook