Thriving Congregations Initiative

Reimagining Church

New Models for the 21st Century


This Lilly Endowment funded program is engaging with 40 congregations (ten per year for four years) who will work through an extensive self-assessment, facilitated by Yale Divinity School students in their final year of study, identifying areas of congregational life ready for new direction, for reimagining.

Each congregation will launch new initiatives supported by the cohort, by the divinity school resources, and by visionary leaders. The evolving process is being shared via this Reimagining Church website, so that congregations far and near will be able to follow each church’s efforts, and perhaps model their own reimagining process at the same time.


by Tamara Fore-Ravelo
Dixwell Avenue UCC

We live in a world that is constantly changing and evolving, and the church is no exception.

by Ryan Lindsay Arrendell
Bethel AME

It’s a Thursday night and there are things happening at Bethel AME Church.

by Chris Veillon

In the beginning, there was the Word and the Word was made flesh. In the beginning.

by Lee Febos
Grace & St. Peter’s & St. John the Evangelist

On my way to the first meeting with our Reimagining cohort for the newly named Grace and St.

by Luke Melonakos-Harrison
Hamden Plains United Methodist

Hamden Plains United Methodist Church is a church with roots.

Featured Video

Workshop with Dr. Sharon Fennema, part 2

Workshop with Dr. Sharon Fennema, part 1

First Visionary Meeting

9 Connecticut Congregations

Nine Connecticut congregations are participating in the Reimagining Church Project this first year of four.  The work began in September, when small working groups were established in each congregation and matched with a YDS student in their final year of study.  These working groups, facilitated by students, are engaging in a process of self-reflection and visioning as they reimagine what Church will look like for them.

These nine congregations are both small and large and represent a broad range of denominational traditions and demographic identities.  Most of all, each congregation is ready to try new things in a world that is constantly changing.

Marquand Lights

The Reimagining Church: New Models for the 21st Century Project

will utilize YDS students, faculty and staff with expertise in a range of ministerial skills, providing an array of opportunities to empower and strengthen congregations as they engage in this transformation.