ABHMS interim director of Chaplaincy serves as RISE mentor

A relationship with a chaplaincy mentee led the Rev. Dr. Patricia Murphy, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) interim director of Chaplaincy and Specialized Ministries, to official mentorship of 26 Pennsylvania women via the RISE (Renew, Inspire, Support and Empower) Together Mentorship Network, a joint initiative of Union Theological Seminary in New York City and the Women of Color in Ministry (WOCIM) Employment, Mentorship, Advocacy & Education Project. A now-endorsed chaplain whom Murphy was guiding through ABHMS’ chaplaincy process recommended Murphy to WOCIM’s founder.

“I was just innocently doing what I do all day, every day, and this opportunity was presented,” Murphy says. “This [scenario] is the epitome of what RISE is all about. The relationships and the connections make RISE so worthwhile and powerful.”

Three mentors in each of eight U.S. regions will collaborate to present a structured curriculum and workshops to their own cohort of women monthly for two years. Serving participants in the Lancaster, Pa., area will be Murphy and two other mentors—the Rev. Dr. Lavette Paige, an adjunct professor of developing leaders at Lancaster Theological Seminary, and Fran Rodriguez, a program officer at Lancaster County Community Foundation.

“Mentoring is a spiritual practice of self-care that calls forth an intrinsic commitment to both personal and vocational growth,” says Union’s website, quoting the Rev. Dr. Lisa D. Rhodes, RISE Together’s executive director and former dean of the chapel at Spelman College, Atlanta. “RISE mentorship is a relational journey of trust and mutual respect with the vision of providing and receiving wisdom for excellence in ministerial leadership.”

Murphy points out that RISE is not solely for black women; other women of color participate, too.

RISE helps “women in ministry feel that they have support among their fellow women in ministry—other professionals,” she notes. “It helps them to affirm their gifts of ministry. It creates great networking and relationship-building and it helps to further affirm their voice—the voice of women excelling in ministry alongside of men.”

The “Called to Do What: Discerning Vocational Possibilities” workshop that Murphy and other mentors presented at RISE’s “The Power of Our Voices” launch event in March at Union allowed mentees to hear personal stories about navigating ministry as well as to ask questions in real time, Murphy says.

“She was outstanding in the rigor and quality of her analysis as well as the clarity of the information she was quickly able to impart in a workshop setting,” participant Elaine H. Olaoye Ph.D., a psychology professor and director of the Positive Psychology Center at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, N.J., says of Murphy. “Her keen and discerning listening skills were always followed by a challenging yet compassionate response. She modeled a consummate professional at work!”

Clearly, the importance of relationships and connections cannot be overestimated. They nurture additional relationships and connections, leading to exponential growth that positively impacts more lives than one could ever have imagined.

 Information is available online about ABHMS’ Chaplaincy and Specialized Ministries and American Baptist ecclesiastical endorsement.