As part of a generous gift from the Lilly Endowment’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges, we are proud to sponsor 12 research fellows and 8 mentors who are performing ground-breaking research on Clergy finance issues.  Please find more information about our distinguished fellows and mentors below.


Dr. Kristina Terkun Castro is currently the chair of the Department of Business and an assistant professor of economics at Our Lady of the Lake University. She earned her BA in Economics from James Madison University and her MA (Economics) and Ph.D. (Applied Economics) from Clemson University. Dr. Terkun Castro has since taught in the undergraduate business and MBA programs at James Madison University and DePaul University as well as at Hampden-Sydney College, Gustavus Adolphus College, and at the University of Aalto-Mikkeli, in Finland. She has published articles in the Transnational Journal of Business, Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Religion, Southern Business and Economic Journal, Review of Political Economy, Review of Radical Political Economics, and Contributions to Economic Analysis and Policy. Her primary research interests include the economics of religion, industrial economics, game theory, and sports economics. As a research fellow with Villanova University’s Center for Church Management her most recent project focuses on improving clergy financial literacy.

Dr. Maureen Day is the Assistant Professor of Religion and Society at the Franciscan School of Theology and Research Fellow at the Center for Church Management at Villanova University. Committed to young adult ministry, Maureen Day is a member of the Alliance for Campus Ministry, an advisory group to the USCCB’s Secretariat on Catholic Education. With training in both theology and the social sciences, her teaching and research areas include Catholicism, family, social ethics and religion in American civic life. Her writings on American Catholic life appear in both Catholic and academic publications, including an edited collection on vocational discernment among young adult Catholics (Paulist Press) as well as a forthcoming book on American Catholic civic engagement (NYU Press). She has provided her expertise to the Church at both the diocesan and national level, recently co-authoring the report for the USCCB’s 2017 National Study of Catholic Campus Ministry. Her current work includes her role as principal investigator in the 2018 qualitative study of Catholic campus ministers (funded by the USCCB and Religious Research Association) and a diocesan-wide study of Latino Catholic stewardship (funded by Villanova University’s Center for Church Management).

Dr. Michelle French-Holloway is an Associate Professor and Program Director in the Department of Business Administration at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles. She teaches courses in management, leadership, and organizational behavior. She earned her doctorate in Organizational Leadership and MBA from Pepperdine University. Her professional experience includes over twenty years in strategic marketing consulting for clients in the entertainment and technology industries and in the non-profit sector. Her research interests include meaning and calling in work, effectiveness in faith-based organizations, and well-being in the workplace. She is Past Chair of the Management, Spirituality and Religion Interest Group of the Academy of Management and Immediate Past President of the Management Faculty of Color Association.

Dr. Danjuma Gibson is an associate professor of pastoral care at Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS). He is also in private practice as a psychotherapist in Grand Rapids, MI.  Prior to joining CTS, he was the senior pastor of a church in Chicago for over sixteen years and was also bivocational as a commercial banker during that time. His most recent book—Frederick Douglass, A Psychobiography: Rethinking Subjectivity in the Western Experiment of Democracy (2018)—is an investigation into the formation of Douglass’ psychological and religious identity in the context of trauma and the American slavocracy. In addition to emotional and psychological trauma, Dr. Gibson’s current research includes exploring the intersection of black religious experience and psychoanalytic discourse in a way that is accretive to how we understand personhood, identity formation, and human flourishing. Dr. Gibson earned his Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College, Master of Business Administration from DePaul University, Master of Arts in Urban Ministry and Master of Christian Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Doctor of Philosophy from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. He received his clinical training from the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago where he earned an Advance Certificate in Psychotherapy and Religion. Dr. Gibson holds memberships in the American Academy of Religion, The Society of Pastoral Theology, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion.

Rev. Dr. Philip Browning Helsel, BCC, is a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) and chaplain with many years of experience is Associate Professor of Pastoral Care at Austin Seminary. His research interests include lay pastoral care, family care, spiritual direction and counseling, mysticism, and oppression-sensitive counseling. His new book “Pastoral Care & Counseling: Care for Stories, Systems, and Self,” is now available with Paulist Press.

Visiting Instructor of Ethics, Theology, and Culture

Brite Divinity School

Dr. Won Yong Kim is currently working as an Assistant Professor of Finance at Augsburg University in Minneapolis.  Before working at current position, he taught various finance courses at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. He receives Ph.D. in Finance at Drexel University and MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management. He also has MA in Area Studies focusing on Chinese studies from Yonsei University in South Korea and BA in History at the same university. He has served Republic of Korea Air force for 3 years as a public affairs officer.

His main research interest is corporate finance, but not limited to traditional financial issues. He published his papers in internationally reputed journals. He is now working on various topics in finance such as corporate governance, international finance, corporate social responsibility, environmental issues in finance, microfinance institutions, sports finance, and church finance. He also reviews several articles as a referee for journal publications. He is a member of Financial Management Association and Korea-America Finance Association, and sits on a board of Korea-America Finance Association.

His interest in church finance is originated from his faith from childhood. He was raised as a Roman Catholic in South Korea. After coming to the United States, he was volunteered as a treasurer at St. Peter Son Korean Catholic Community in Harrisburg, PA, and is now serving as a secretary of pastoral council at the Church of St. Andrew Kim in St. Paul, MN.

Kyle is the Dean of Formation for Ministry and Professor of Church Leadership. He is an ordained pastor (originally in the Evangelical Covenant Church and now in the Reformed Church in America). He and his wife, Lindsay, served as co-pastors for more than 12 years. They have three children: Micah, Madeline, and Maggie (Lulu). Kyle enjoys life most fully at the intersections of father, pastor, and professor.
His life as pastor and teacher finds resonance as he explores the church as a socio-theological community. Kyle’s teaching and research focus on the church in America, spiritual formation, leading Christian communities, and theological education. He has a passion to discover the world through theologically shaped social research. His focus within these disciplines and methodologies emerges from a primary desire for the church to live as the community of God’s people in the world. He blogs semi-regularly at www.pilgrimshome.blogspot.com

Kris currently serves as Associate Professor of Missional Leadership and Director of Innovative Initiatives at Wartburg Theological Seminary, where she has been since 2007.  She loves how the creativity involved with her administrative work intersects with the teaching in the classroom. Kris received her PhD in Congregational Mission and Leadership from Luther Seminary, with a dissertation titled, “Feminist Theology and Missional Church: An Exploration into the Doctrine of the Trinity and its Understanding in Four Denominational Systems.” Kris and her husband Alan live in Dubuque Iowa with their children.

The Rev. Emily Wachner is a priest who specializes in congregational program development and administration, where she enjoys reflecting on these topics in the course of her work with ordinands in the Episcopal Church through the General Theological Seminary, where she serves as Director of Integrative Programs and Lecturer in Practical Theology. Emily is responsible for overseeing contextual learning, and her interaction with the Episcopal deployment process has sparked her interest in the financial wellness of congregations, and its impact on their clergy hiring choices. Prior to coming to General Seminary, Emily most recently served as Assistant Director of Liturgy, Hospitality, and Pilgrimage at Trinity Wall Street where, after four years, she planted a thriving new congregation for families with young children at the historic St. Paul’s Chapel. In addition to congregational development, she was also responsible for membership, liturgical special projects, and community and arts programming at the chapel.

Nathan Willowby is Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics at Anderson University. He teaches in both graduate and undergraduate programs. His research interests relate to the ways theological understandings of holiness inform the social and political practices of Christian churches, in particular the Church of God (Anderson), and political theology more broadly. Willowby’s education includes a Phd in Theology and Ethics from Marquette University, Master’s of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School, and BA in Bible & Religion and Business Administration from Anderson University. An ordained minister in the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), he served as pastor of Crossroads Church of God in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and President of the Wisconsin Assembly of the Church of God prior to his faculty position at Anderson.


Father Stephen Joseph Fichter, pastor of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey, is also an adviser for Villanova University’s Center for Church Management and a research associate at The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.

Father Stephen obtained a Ph.L. and an S.T.B. from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, an M.S.W. from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Rutgers University.

Following in the footsteps of his well-known granduncle, the Jesuit scholar Father Joseph Fichter, Stephen’s research interests cover all issues related to the sociology of religion, especially those that focus on clergy and parish life. His social work thesis, which described gender differences in stress among Protestant ministers, was published in Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion (RSSSR 2005).

His doctoral dissertation and now his second published book, From Catholic Priest to Married Protestant Minister: Shepherding in Greener Pastures (Lexington Books 2015), examines the causes and consequences of the dual transition of celibate Catholic priests into married Protestant ministry. A summary of his findings can be found online at America magazine.

His experience before joining CARA in 2008 includes serving as the parochial vicar of Saint Gabriel the Archangel Church in Saddle River, New Jersey, and teaching undergraduate courses in Philosophy and World Religions at Bergen Community College. More recently, he taught for several years a graduate course in Vatican II Theology for the STEPS (Seminary’s Theological Education for Parish Services) Program at Seton Hall University as well as a Ministry of Leadership course for fourth year seminarians.

While studying in Europe for almost twelve years, he learned to speak Spanish and Italian fluently and held various administrative posts including chief financial officer and vice rector of two seminaries. He also taught Latin and Spanish to first-year seminarians.

At CARA, Father Stephen has continued to specialize in clergy research, placing his sociological skills at the service of the Roman Catholic Church. In coordination with the National Organization for Continuing Education for Roman Catholic Clergy (NOCERCC), he has worked on several Cultivating Unity projects for dioceses throughout the United States. Father Stephen is also the co-author of the book, Same Call, Different Men: The Evolution of the Priesthood since Vatican II (Liturgical Press 2012), in which 900 men discuss their priestly lives and ministry in the United States.

Father Stephen’s latest book is Catholic Bishops in the United States: Church Leadership in the Third Millennium (Oxford University Press 2019) is based on a nationwide comprehensive study on Catholic bishops in America. His co authors are Father Thomas Gaunt, SJ, Sister Catherine Hoegeman, and Dr. Paul Perl.

Finally, Father Stephen is the co-developer of the PeaceQuest iTunes app, which is a 3D immersive experience based on the Jesuit “composition of place” style of prayer.

Senior Research Associate
Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate

Mary L. Gautier is a senior research associate at CARA. She has a Ph.D. in sociology from Louisiana State University. Before coming to CARA in 1998, Mary taught sociology at Louisiana State University and at Texas Christian University and served as a lay pastoral associate at St. George Parish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for six years.

At CARA, Mary specializes in Catholic demographic trends in the United States, manages CARA databases on Church information, and conducts demographic projects and computer-aided mapping. She also edits The CARA Report, a quarterly research publication, and other CARA publications. She is co-author of Catholicism USA (2000), Global Catholicism (2003), American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church (2007), Best Practices of Catholic Pastoral and Finance Councils (2010), Same Call, Different Men: The Evolution of the Priesthood Since Vatican II (2012), American Catholics in Transition (2013), New Generations of Catholic Sisters (2014), and Bridging the Gap: The Opportunities and Challenges of International Priests Ministering in the United States (2014).

Dr. Marti R. Jewell has served as an associate professor of pastoral theology in the Neuhoff School of Ministry at the University of Dallas and was named the University’s 2017 Michael A. Haggar Scholar. Previously, she served as the Director of the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project, a national research initiative studying excellence in parish leadership. Her books include Navigating Pastoral Transitions: A Parish Leaders’ Guide, The Changing Face of Church, and The Next Generation of Pastoral Leaders. Dr. Jewell holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Catholic University of America.

Director of Research
Center for the Study of Theological Education
Auburn Seminary

Dr. Thomas de Nocker is professor for general business studies, especially strategic management and sustainability at the FOM University of Applied Sciences for Economics and Management. The FOM University of Applied Sciences is Germany’s biggest private university of applied sciences with about 35,000 students and has its headquarter in Essen.

He did his doctorate in Pastoral Theology at the Catholic-Theological Department of the University of Münster in 2011. The thesis on the cooperation of strategic consultancies and Catholic Dioceses was graded “summa cum laude” and awarded with the Paul-Nordhues-Caritas-Award. He also works as consultant on organisational matters with emphasis on church and charitable institutions.

Thomas lives in the German city of Essen with his wife and his three wonderful children.

Endowed Chair for Social Scientific Study of Religion Emerita
St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity

Director, Institute for Religion Research
Hartford Seminary

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