by Jorge Gomez • 4 min read
This week, First Liberty’s Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy (CRCD) held its D.C. Fellowship.
Every year, we select a group of young, bright leaders for an immersive, all-expenses paid trip to our nation’s capital. Over the course of this five-day program, they learn, hear from and interact one-on-one with some of the country’s top scholars and legal minds. This hands-on experience equips, motivates and shows them practical ways to use their talents in service to our Republic. It teaches them how to take all of this knowledge back to their community and advocate for religious liberty.
You’ll often hear us say that religious freedom can only advance as far as those who carry it. And the D.C. Fellowship—combined with CRCD’s educational initiatives—is a major part of passing the torch. It’s how we’re making sure the next generation is ready to protect and advocate for religious freedom wherever they go.
We brought together 20 students from universities across the country this year. And what a tremendously diverse group this was! We had students pursuing degrees in English, political science, international relations, criminology, and even musical performance.
Here’s a quick glance at this year’s Fellowship:
ALL IT TAKES IS ONE.
2024 marks the eighth year of the D.C. Fellowship. Can you believe it? God continues to move in incredible ways through this program. As a testimony of its impact, look at how far we’ve come since it was launched.
It all started back in 2016 at our very first Fellowship. That year, one of our interns, Christine Norwood, spent a couple of months with us during the summer. Being an intern was just the start for her, though. She then participated in the inaugural Fellowship later that November. At the time, the Fellowship kicked off with Christine and a handful of other students.
Being in the Fellowship ignited a spark in Christine. It changed her perspective and even her career path. She was moved by her experience and felt a calling to share it with others. Fast forward and less than a year later, Christine joined our staff full-time and became the Program Coordinator for the Fellowship.
Christine would go on to devote the next few years to growing that program. In 2020, the Fellowship became one of the CRCD’s educational programs equipping rising leaders. Today—in addition to the D.C. Fellowship—we also have the Shaftesbury Fellowship and the Savannah Seminar.
And thanks to your support, these programs are paying off in a huge way.
In 2023, more than 50 students from nearly 40 different institutions graduated from CRCD fellowships and programs.
God often surprises us with how He works, does He not?
From Christine and that small group of students who went to D.C. for the first Fellowship came several of the most successful, enduring and inspiring initiatives in our organization.
Sometimes, it only takes one person to make a difference. If we can inspire one person—one young leader, one student—to join this fight for religious freedom, God can take that and multiply it tenfold.
P.S. – Stay tuned for a future edition of FLI Insider. Our D.C. Fellows will share with you more about their experience this year.