The Adese Fellowship: A catalytic experience for emerging entrepreneurs who renew the Church's mission to create a just world for all.
The Adese (from the Amharic language to renew, pronounced ah-deh-say) Fellowship is a year-long, ecumenical program that engages participants in self-discovery, theological reflection and business development as they create enterprises that help their communities follow the way of Jesus and live into God's economy. This groundbreaking fellowship maximizes the business acumen and entrepreneurial capacity of participants to launch scaleable and sustainable ventures that counter systemic poverty.
Adese Fellows fashion a faithful approach to economics as they critique the dominant system and create another way. Participants apply to the program to advance a concept or early-stage venture, at the heart of which is the biblical call to bring good news to the poor. Adese Fellows reform and reinvigorate the church through their innovation.
Adese Fellows welcome and leverage difference. The cohort of participants are laity and clergy. They come from rural and urban locations and are different in age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and ability. What they share in common is a passion to engage at intersections, most especially faith and enterprise.
From peer learning to partnerships, the program is thoroughly collaborative. Adese Fellows confer with leaders in church, academy and business to explore how the church can create social and economic value and how enterprise can create spiritual value. Along the way, fellows receive business coaching and expert counsel in the legal, financial and human resource aspects of launching and growing an enterprise. Sponsored by the United Church of Christ Church Building & Loan Fund (CB&LF) and the United Church of Christ National Setting, the ecumenical program welcomes participants from all traditions who are committed to a just world for all.
“Adese embraces the idea that whatever ignites faith, eliminates poverty and redeems creation is what the mission of the church is all about."”
REV. DR. Patrick Duggan
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UCC CHURCH BUILDING & LOAN FUND
The Adese Fellowship was launched in the summer of 2017 by the United Church of Christ Church Building & Loan Fund and the United Church of Christ National Setting. The Adese Fellowship curriculum involves three retreats and its first retreat was held in January 2018. Videoconferencing, site visits and small group work in between the gatherings moved participants through three stages – discern, design and disciple – to gain clarity about themselves and their venture, prototyping and testing their concept, and building a team. The first class of Fellows drew upon the experience of mentors and peers while identifying and maximizing the resources of their communities.