Social Impact

The Program

The Odyssey Fellows program supports graduate students at theological schools, and the field education faculty and programming of their institution. The program’s goal is to support and train these emerging faith leaders working in communities to engage difficult civic issues and provide resources for seminaries to meet the growing needs of contextual education. Engaging the immersive power of documentary film, Fellows convene brave and healing conversations across lines of difference within their community, resulting in faithful actions inspired by their leadership. Odyssey Fellowships support the valuable intersection of innovative new leaders, the wisdom of educational institutions, and the on-the-ground opportunities of faith-related communities.

 

Through the course of an academic year, the Fellows’ work has two basic phases. In the fall semester, they engage various subsets of their community, using the power of documentary film to spark conversation on a selected civic issue, such as mass incarceration, racial injustice, gender-based violence, or gun violence. These conversations, paired with engagement of those in the community most affected by the issue, shape discernment of exactly how the Fellows and the congregations feel moved to act. In the spring, these conversations culminate in each Fellow’s leadership of a community-generated action or response to the issue, as well as theological/scholarly reflection within the rubrics of each institution.

 

Not only does Odyssey Impact® provide access to powerful media and written resources to the Fellows, their seminaries and congregations and organizations they serve, but also engagement with filmmakers and film subjects, roles in the process of creating support materials for faith communities, leadership opportunities across Odyssey’s virtual and in-person events and screenings, as well as innovative training experiences with leading experts and practitioners. An Odyssey Fellow will graduate with skills to engage both faith and secular spheres, and gain fluency in using film to inspire brave conversations, new partnerships and faithful actions in response to complex difficult civic issues.

 

Perhaps best of all, Fellows experience the transformative power of their cohort: dialogue and relationship with talented peers from other institutions and regions. Odyssey believes that when emerging leaders are properly supported, they are often allowed to experiment with different ways that they might engage on tough issues, with new community partners. With the Odyssey Fellows program, everyone wins: tough conversations are advanced, new partnerships are built, and faithful action happens!

Religious Affiliations

Baptist
Buddhist
Christian
Congregationalist (UCC)
Episcopalian
Jewish
Lutheran
Methodist (UMC)
Muslim
Presbyterian PC(USA)
Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)

 

Colleges

Union Theological Seminary (NYC)
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Better World Rabbinical Training Academy
Candler School of Theology (Emory University)
Cambridge Muslim College
Iliff School of Theology
Fuller Theological Seminary
Chicago Theological Seminary
Vanderbilt Divinity School
Agnes Scott College
Lancaster Theological Seminary
Hartford International University for Religion and Peace (HIU)

Rose Castle Retreat (2022)

Odyssey Fellows Cohort 2022-23 Kick-off Retreat – August 15th-22nd at Rose Castle, in the Cumbria region of England in partnership with the Rose Castle Foundation.

The Odyssey Fellows will gather to start their journey together, diving deep into what it means to convene brave & healing conversations leveraging the power of film. These 14 rising star faith leaders bring a stunning diversity of experiences, talents, and perspectives on working across lines of difference and tackling difficult civic issues. In addition to what they will learn from each other, experts and mentors from Odyssey Impact® and from the Rose Castle Foundation will lead workshops, film screenings, and best of all, the kind of candid conversations that emerge most naturally in a retreat setting!

Odyssey Impact® thanks our friends at the Rose Castle Foundation and the generous support for theological education from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

Meet the Fellows

Class of 2022-23

The 2022-23 Odyssey Fellows cohort is a diverse, talented group of emerging leaders, engaging justice issues within faith spheres, and innovating new ways of virtually convening communities via film and healing conversations.

Ashley Mason Brown

Ashley Mason Brown

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
📍 Austin, TX, USA

Windy Cooler

Windy Cooler

Lancaster Theological Seminary
📍 Greenbelt, MD, USA

Meredith Harmon

Meredith Harmon

Candler School of Theology, Emory
📍 Columbus, WI, USA

David Hazan

David Hazan

UK Rabbinical School
📍 Kent, GB, UK

Keith Takeshi Hirata

Keith Takeshi Hirata

Fuller Theological Seminary
📍 Rosemead, CA, USA

Shereetha Jackson

Shereetha Jackson

Agnes Scott College
📍 USA

Yazeed Kamaldien

Yazeed Kamaldien

Hartford International University for Religion and Peace
📍 Cape Town, South Africa

Grace Okerson

Grace Okerson

Candler School of Theology, Emory
📍 Decatur, GA, USA

Natalia Pierson

Natalia Pierson

Vanderbilt University
📍 Nashville, TN, USA

Isabella “Izzy” Sherwood-Reid

Isabella “Izzy” Sherwood-Reid

Iliff School of Theology
📍 USA

Kevin Staton

Kevin Staton

Chicago Theological Seminary
📍 New Haven, CT, USA

Andrea Steinkamp

Andrea Steinkamp

Union Theological Seminary
📍 New York, NY, USA

Peter Tanaka

Peter Tanaka

Union Theological Seminary
📍 New York, NY, USA

Hamzah Zahid

Hamzah Zahid

Cambridge Muslim College
📍 Great Britain, UK

Alumni

Class of 2020-21

Jonese Austin

Jonese Austin

Ristina Gooden

Ristina Gooden

Lauren Johnson

Lauren Johnson

Oriana Mayorga

Oriana Mayorga

Staci Plonsky

Staci Plonsky

Darrin “D.J.” Sims

Darrin “D.J.” Sims

Class of 2019-20

Erica Bitting

Erica Bitting

Vincent Jones

Vincent Jones

PARTNERS

At the heart of Odyssey’s Impact mission is connecting people, communities, and organizations to the stories that uplift our society’s most pressing issues. Organizational and individual partners are vital to our work, and we are thankful to those working alongside us, particularly because their work is often behind the scenes. In particular, our partner relationships are critically important to our on-the-ground work, as they connect local changemakers, stakeholders, advocates, students and educators to our resources and enhance the work they do in their communities to drive positive social change.

 

Learn more about becoming a partner.
 
New York Film Academy
DOC NYC
 

OUR REACH

Our productions and co-productions have reached people across the nation, catalyzing engagements and creating connections needed to drive change. Our films are seen at hundreds of local community institutions nationally; broadcast on STARZ, HBO, PBS and OWN, and seen on global online platforms like Netflix.

 

Interested in building connections in your community? Connect with us.

DONATE & SUPPORT

If you are interested in supporting the Fellowship Program, you can make a direct donation below:

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