The Clergy Project

For More Information Contact:

Catherine Dunphy, acting Executive Director, (202) 738-1764,

For Immediate Release: February 19, 2013

New $100,000 Employment Transition Program Launched to Help Atheist and Agnostic Clergy Find Secular Jobs

Washington DC--The Clergy Project is proud to announce the addition of the Employment Transitional Assistance Grant, thanks to a generous grant from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.

Todd Stiefel, founder and President of Stiefel Freethought Foundation said, "With this donation, my foundation hopes to help formerly-religious clergy find secular employment. These clergy men and women will no longer have to put the priority of feeding their family above their desire to stop preaching what they no longer believe.” Stiefel continued, "Additionally, this is an investment in the next great leaders of the freethought movement because of the incredible skills such as community building, support, and management that these clergy-persons bring with them."

This project will provide crucial support to Clergy Project Members leaving active ministry. The program, offered by RiseSmart, will provide 6 months of assistance including, skills assessment, resume prep, and connection with a regional recruiter to assist them in finding employment. During the first year, our goal is to approve a minimum of 15 Clergy Project members. The Clergy Project is working to ensure sustainability of the Transitional Assistance Grant, so that it will be available for members now and in the future.

Dan Barker, Chair of the Clergy Project board said, "I wish there had been a service like this when I left the ministry in the 1980s. I spent a long time floundering, searching for a way to make a meaningful living as a nonbeliever. Eventually, we all have to solve the problems of life on our own, but just knowing there are resources from sympathetic organizations can be immensely helpful."

The program is scheduled to officially begin in March 2013.

The Clergy Project is a private, invitation only, online peer support community for active and former clergy who do not have supernatural beliefs.