Rev. Mariah Furness Tollgaard and Rev. Cynthia Williams were recently named to a group of 13 Collegeville Institute fellows. They were selected among 165 individuals nominated by Minnesota church leaders for this prestigious opportunity.
Funded by a major grant from the Lilly Endowment, the Collegeville Institute Fellows Program brings an ecumenical group of participants together with professionals from other sectors of Minnesota society (education, business, health care, criminal justice, social services, etc.), with the goal of helping to strengthen these church leaders’ sense of themselves and their capacities as civic leaders and public theologians.
This is the second cohort of fellows and will launch in October 2015. Rev. Rachel McIver Morey, who now serves at Northfield United Methodist Church, was part of the first cohort. Participants meet eight times for multi-day gatherings over 22 months.
Tollgaard is the lead pastor of Hamline United Methodist Church in St. Paul. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master of divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School. Before graduate school, she worked for labor unions in New York City and for a school district outside of Minneapolis. She has served in churches in Massachusetts, California, and Denmark. She also worked as a hospital chaplain and as a research associate for the Harvard Pluralism Project.
Williams, meanwhile, serves in a dual role as associate pastor at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Paul and at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis. Her work as pastor, teacher, and preacher is enhanced through her work as a life coach—calling organizations and individuals to intentionally and authentically embrace their identity, creativity, and wholeness in Christ. Prior to entering full-time ministry, she spent more than 20 years in executive leadership in the financial services industry, building customer service operations through strategic planning, staff development, systems improvement, and customer intelligence initiatives. Williams earned a bachelor of science degree in communications from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
To learn more about the Collegeville Institute Fellows Program, click here.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church