Dynamic Duo

September 2, 2008

Husband-and-wife deans Drs. David and Diana Garland were jointly awarded a $300,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to educate and equip indigenous church leaders for effective, holistic ministry in their home cultures.

"We believe that such an approach to church leadership is more respectful and sensitive to diverse cultures, is more effective than sending Americans to attempt to provide such leadership as cultural outsiders, and also is far more efficient and cost-effective," the Garlands wrote in their proposal.

Diana Garland, dean of Baylor's School of Social Work, and David Garland, dean of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, said that together the academic units have the opportunity to develop global leaders for missions and ministries and to influence the vision and effective of churches for worldwide ministry. Students in the program will obtain a master of social work/master of theological studies dual degree.

"These leaders and churches will be equipped with graduate social work and theological education to address some of the most widespread challenges facing the world today--poverty, hunger, human trafficking, child welfare, the HIV/AIDS pandemic--a list limited only by our vision, knowledge, commitment and ability to garner resources for the work," said Diana Garland, whose school currently has 11 international graduate students.

The initiative also provides a unique opportunity for individual churches to partner with Baylor's School of Social Work and Truett Seminary to cover costs for an international student.

"This is a chance for the local church to re-imagine global missions and its role in that ministry," said David Garland. "As Baptists, we have always taught and lived our missional commitment, but with the help of the Luce Foundation, we now can do that in a way that assures excellent preparation for the missionary who takes this knowledge and passion back to his or her home country and works to transform lives and communities."

The Garlands hope the program will grow with support from other donors. It costs $18,000 annually to support an international student, which includes $16,000 living stipend and $2,000 indirect costs for Baylor University.

Diana Garland also received a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to conduct the first national research on clergy sexual abuse of adults. The unprecedented initiative will help communities and congregations develop new practices and policies to prevent clergy sexual abuse and ensure that survivors receive appropriate care.

"Our faith communities have been dismayed to learn that trusted spiritual leaders have used their roles to abuse children and that others covered up the abuse and thus allowed it to continue," said Garland, the director of the study.

"This project intends to shed light on the problem of spiritual leaders who abuse their power as adults and how that abuse can be prevented. The goal is to strengthen congregations with protective policies and structures that take human vulnerabilities seriously," she said.