Trinity Church names Fellows for new program in social transformation

Outstanding Leaders Honored With $20,000 Fellowship
May 22, 2004

The Parish of Trinity Church on Wall Street has named its first Trinity Transformational Fellows to recognize outstanding leaders in social transformation in metropolitan New York.

Created by the Trinity Grants Program, Trinity Church's philanthropic arm, the program will provide grants of $20,000 to selected clergy and lay leaders from the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The yearlong fellowship includes a six-week sabbatical to strengthen their ministries and mentor emerging leaders.

The fellows were announced today by the Reverend Dr. James H. Cooper, Trinity Church's Rector, at an Ascension Day service at Trinity Church:

The Reverend Bertram G. Bennett Jr., Priest-in-Charge, St. David's Church, Bronx, NY. Father Bennett represents consistent leadership with South Bronx Churches in the redevelopment of the South Bronx, including the creation of one thousand units of Nehemiah Housing, two alternative public high schools, and eighty housing units at a senior center. His congregation ties together tenants from nearby public housing complexes with commuters whose families used to live in the neighborhood.

The Reverend W. Earl Kooperkamp, Ph.D., Rector, St. Mary's Church, Harlem, NY. Father Kooperkamp is a prominent Episcopal presence in diverse social transformation issues, from prison advocacy to the rights of restaurant workers. He has long experience with metropolitan New York issues as clergy at several Manhattan congregations and as a leader with Upper Manhattan Together. He has a doctorate in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary.

Peter Ng, Executive Director, Church of Our Savior Jubilee Center, New York, NY. A prime mover in housing, employment, health, and technology access issues in Chinatown, Mr. Ng created the Episcopal Church's first Jubilee Center in an Asian congregation. Jubilee Centers are an initiative of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. which support faith communities in meeting basic human needs and building a just society. Much of the Jubilee Center's work is financed through a publishing ministry and computer support service operated by recent immigrants trained at the Church's education center.

The creation of the Trinity Transformational Fellows results from Trinity Grants' new focus on social transformation in metropolitan New York—not just helping those in need but challenging those systems in society which do not meet basic human needs.

"Metropolitan New York is now confronting its greatest social and economic tests since the Great Depression. It is crucial the Church support leaders who have the moral imagination to confront injustice and the practical ability to get things done," said the Reverend Canon James G. Callaway Jr., Deputy for Grants, Trinity Church. "These inaugural Trinity Fellows are exemplars of how faith communities can make a difference in our city."

The Fellows were nominated and recommended by a group of "spotters," active and knowledgeable New York leaders who are themselves engaged in community change efforts. Nominees do not apply and the spotters will remain anonymous. The $20,000 awarded to each fellow will cover their time and their professional development activities as well as compensate their parish or organization for loss of services during their sabbatical.

"Trinity Church is one of America's oldest philanthropies," said Dr. Cooper, Trinity Church's 17th rector. "For nearly three centuries it has identified new leaders, innovative ideas, and exceptional opportunities to transform the Church and help the Church change the world."

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