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Program Overview

The Adese Fellowship is a catalytic experience for emerging entrepreneurs who renew the church's mission to create a just world for all.

This yearlong ecumenical program 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. The 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 annual, all-expense-paid 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. From the Amharic language, “adese” means renew. So Adese Fellows reform and reinvigorate the church through their innovation.

Adese Fellows welcome and leverage difference. The cohort of 15-20 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 office of Congregational Assessment, Support and Advancement (CASA), the ecumenical program welcomes participants from all traditions who are committed to a just world for all.

Read article announcing launch of Adese.

For further information about the Adese Fellowship, contact Melina Higbee, strategic program administrator, at or 216-736-3817.