Lee Gagen Named Adese Fellow

Lee Gagen Named Adese Fellow

Lee Gagen
Lee Gagen, Southern New England Conference Director for Individual and External Donor Relations, has been named a 2022 Adese Fellow. The Adese Fellowship is an ecumenical program of the United Church of Christ Building & Loan Fund and the UCC national setting.

According to their website, “the Adese (from the Amharic language to renew, pronounced ah-deh-say) Fellowship is a year-long, ecumenical program that 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. This groundbreaking fellowship maximizes the business acumen and entrepreneurial capacity of participants to launch scaleable and sustainable ventures that counter systemic poverty.”

Over a 12-month period, Fellows participate in a series of three three-day retreats, augmented by videoconferencing, site visits and small group work, and in doing so move through three stages — discern, design and disciple — gaining clarity about themselves and their venture, prototyping and testing their concept, and building a team.

“I applied for the Adese Fellowship because I want to find a way to engage more members of the community in the work that we do,” Gagen said. “The Southern New England Conference has a plethora of valuable resources. These range from acres of open space at our various sites to knowledgeable staff eager to make an impact. There are many people that have benefited from the grassy fields and variety of programs offered by SNEUCC staff. However, what is clear is that we have so much more to give.”

“I want to make sure that our resources are being fully used. As a valued and trusted faith-based community nonprofit, I want to broaden our reach and our impact. Through my fellowship experience, I hope to imagine creative ways that the Southern New England Conference can be an involved member of the various settings where the conference is represented focusing also on the specific locations of our conference offices in Hartford, CT and Framingham, MA,” she said. “I want to amplify our reputation within the community as a thought leader. I look forward to promoting opportunities for Racial Justice trainings for community members and groups. I am excited to form relationships with other community organizations and to redefine community outreach and engagement in out of the box innovative and creative ways.”

Gagen is one of seven fellows from all over the country chosen to take part in 2022.

“It is an honor to be named an Adese Fellow,” she said. “My cohort is made up of an amazing group of thought leaders eager to make a positive impact. I am excited to learn, grow, and walk alongside them.”

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