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USC Launches Third Annual Program for African American Clergy and Lay Leaders

20 May

For Immediate Release

For Immediate Release

Los Angeles - The USC Passing the Mantle Clergy and Lay Leadership Institute is now accepting applications for its 2008 program. Created to develop a new generation of black church leaders in California, the program trains emerging and established African American clergy and lay leaders in community organizing, economic development and leadership strategies. "This effort is important because the essence of the struggle for black equity is based in the black church," said the Rev. Dr. Cecil "Chip" Murray, John R. Tansey Professor of Christian Ethics, and director of USC's Passing the Mantle program. "If you want to affect the larger black community, your point of contact will ultimately include the church."

The USC Passing the Mantle Clergy and Lay Leadership Institute, known as PTM, includes dynamic speakers and structured mentoring meetings with leading ministers in the Los Angeles area. PTM is led by the Rev. Dr. Cecil "Chip" Murray, the former pastor of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church Los Angeles. The institute is co-directed by Rev. Mark Whitlock, founder and pastor of Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Rev. Eugene Williams, founder of Regional Congregations and Neighborhood Organizations. Prof. Donald E. Miller, executive director of the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, completes the leadership team as co-principal investigator.

The institute takes place August 3-9, 2008 at the University of Southern California and is limited to 40 pastors, lay leaders, and community development professionals. Clergy and lay leaders in California will be given priority consideration. The application deadline is May 30, 2008. Program tuition is $500, which includes accommodations, materials, food, and fellowship with other church leaders. A limited number of scholarships are available for those with financial need.

The Passing the Mantle Clergy and Lay Leadership Institute is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation ( PTM is housed at the University of Southern California's Center for Religion and Civic Culture, (, a catalyst for new partnerships and research on the role of religion in society.

For more information on the Passing the Mantle program and to download an application, please visit, or call 213.740.8562.Contacts:
Rev. Mark Whitlock, Co-Director, phone (949) 955-0014
Rev. Najuma Smith, Alumni President, Phone (323) 873-7724


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