The Orlando Heart of the City Fellows is a Christ-centered, character formation program for recent college graduates based in First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (EPC) in Orlando, Florida. Our mission is to prepare Fellows to live seamless lives of faith and ‘Start Well.’
faith & work
We are committed to helping shape and prepare Fellows to become Kingdom-minded individuals of character, grounded in the rhythms of a healthy Christian life and intimate relationship with Jesus. Our focus on spiritual formation and understanding the connection between our faith and work life will help participants practice integrating their experiences and circumstances, to learn to live a more seamless life of faith.
A Fellows Program is an intensely practical nine-month experience designed to prepare recent college grads to live seamless lives of faith. Your laboratory will be a part-time professional job in your field of interest, theological coursework, discipleship, mentoring and service. This leadership development program equips Fellows to have a thoughtful impact in the world.
A Seamless Life
A Fellows program helps you develop a more complete Christian worldview, gain practical work experience, be actively mentored, learn to live as part of a community, and experience life in the local church. As a Fellow, you will:
WORK in a paid part-time internship in your field of interest.
STUDY the theology of faith and work in graduate courses accredited through Reformed Theological Seminary.
SERVE & WORSHIP at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, a city-center church in downtown Orlando, Florida.
LIVE with a host family, learning to love and serve as a member of a family.
GROW in community through weekly roundtable dinners, discipleship groups, and several retreats.
A typical week
Fellows will learn, love, and experience the importance of being connected to the local church, God's missional outposts. Fellows commit to weekly worship each Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, tasting the joy of communal fellowship.
3 days a week, Fellows learn the value of work while exploring vocation and call. The Orlando Fellows Team will do everything possible to match the Fellow and his/her interest with an appropriate internship (i.e. medicine, law, business, retail, hospitality, education, ministry, communication , real estate, etc.). Business partnerships are formed through the greater Christian community in Orlando, and are vetted for program commitment and the desire to provide an excellent work experience.
Fellows will complete graduate-level coursework focused on the biblical narrative, Christian worldview, faith & work, and spiritual formation. These courses are accredited through Reformed Theological Seminary, and Fellows will be eligible for advanced standing and scholarship assistance, should they choose to enroll in seminary at RTS.
Fellows learn to disciple others through service in the church’s student ministry, helping lead either middle or high school students during weekly program events and small groups, as well as serving as leaders on two retreats.
Each Fellow will live with a Host Family, learning to live day-to-day with a Christ-centered family who chooses to share life with them - the good times and the hard, from the excitement of birthdays to the drudgery of dishwashing.
Each Fellow will be assigned a Christian mentor who will meet with the Fellow regularly. Mentors are spiritually-mature adults who have demonstrated living out their faith in the marketplace. The mentors will focus on encouraging and challenging Fellows to consider how God is at work in their workplace and how they might be a part of that. They will share from their own experience, both learned and lived.
Each week the Fellows will meet together for Roundtable, a community-building time of fellowship and sharing, giving Fellows a chance to process their experience together. Male and female Fellows will also meet in separate groups each week with a discipleship leader.
Retreats and Conferences
Fellows will participate in two conferences along with other Fellows programs from around the country. In addition, Orlando Fellows will also participate in opening, mid-term, and closing retreats, a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, a solitude/silent retreat at a monastery.
A few things that make the Orlando Heart of the City Fellows program unique from other Fellows programs include a 5-day mission trip to the Dominican Republic, Christian counseling through the REST Initiative, a 3-day silent retreat, and an invitation to attend Lifework Leadership lunches with nationally renowned speakers. Oh yeah, we also like to take off every now and then for some FUN, and with the beach and theme parks in our back yard, it’s not hard to find!
THE CITY BEAUTIFUL
Orlando is one of the world’s most visited family destinations, and while its illustrious themed attractions may steal the limelight, with a vibrant and well-kept city center and a climate that averages around 75° Fahrenheit, there is a surprising amount of things to experience here.
First Presbyterian Church of Orlando is a downtown church in a growing city, united by our covenant relationship with God and one another. We love Jesus, and are committed to sharing his love with others, and humbly serving the city of Orlando and beyond. First Pres is uniquely multi-generational, with people of all ages worshipping together in both traditional and contemporary worship services. Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in First Pres’ 20s Ministry, a thriving group of young adults who meet together regularly for study and fellowship. The Orlando Fellows program is part of a larger movement within the church called The Collaborative, which exists to reframe, restore, and redeem our understanding of what happens at the intersection of faith and work.