The Genesis of the Fellowship
The Phillips Talbot Global Ministry Fellowship grew out of a capital campaign named The 921 Fund undertaken by Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church (MAPC) in 2005. MAPC has a tradition of tithing the funds raised in its capital campaigns. In the past, this was accomplished through drawing up a selection of gifts representing different components of MAPC’s ongoing mission outreach ministry. For the 921 Fund, MAPC established a committee to formulate such a plan for allocation of funds, but this time it was decided to allocate the funds towards one major project.
The 921 Fund's work coincided with a growing interest at MAPC in outreach ministry in south central Africa. The committee worked with various mission partners, including Presbyterian Church (USA) global mission co-workers in Africa, who had established relationships within and beyond the Church in south central Africa. One of these relationships was with Theological Education by Extension in Zambia (TEEZ), an ecumenical organization based in Kitwe, Zambia, that delivers theological training programs to lay leaders in their home churches and villages throughout the provinces of Zambia. It was discovered that TEEZ was seeking additional human resources that would help it achieve its mission of bringing theological education to lay-people of Zambia. With these considerations in mind, the committee explored the concept of developing a two-year program that would open an opportunity for outstanding seminary graduates to begin their pastoral ministry with an immersion experience in the Global South (referred to by some as the “developing world,” and formerly labeled the “Third World”), the center of activity, energy, and growth in the 21st-century Church. MAPC’s connection and partnership with TEEZ was by all accounts providential. The fellowship, initially known as the Global Ministry Fellowship, was subsequently named for Phillips Talbot, elder, United States ambassador, diplomat, journalist, author, educator and visionary, and committee member who himself had benefited from a similar fellowship as a young reporter years before in India. Upon Dr. Talbot’s death in the fall of 2010, the fellowship, which he was instrumental in founding, was named in honor and memory of him.
The Phillips Talbot Global Ministry Fellowship is a two-year program that provides select, recent seminary graduates who are certified ready to receive a call to ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA), with an immersion experience in the Christian Church in the Global South. The intention is not to recruit young pastors for mission service, but rather to help them experience and benefit from the dynamics of doing ministry in the church in the Global South. Such experience indelibly shapes the pastoral outlook and character of such leaders for the rest of their ministries, and thus helps ensure that the emerging leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) understand the dynamics and opportunities for ministry and partnership in a globalized context.