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Program Description

Gary Mangiofico leads Communitas session


COMMUNITAS will bring together a cohort of early career pastors who have completed approximately five to twelve years of full-time ministry from the greater Los Angeles area for a series of retreat-seminars spaced out over a one-year period from January to November 2024. These sessions will utilize Pepperdine faculty and staff who have particular expertise related to the topic under discussion and/or a relationship with the selected business and community leaders from the greater Los Angeles area to engage in direct conversation with these young leaders.

The first meeting is focused on orienting pastors to the program itself, building community among the program participants, and familiarizing participants with concepts related to organizational and community leadership and change. Each session (except the D.C. trip) will begin on a Monday afternoon and end on Wednesday afternoon, with each session devoted to a particular social issue that is important and relevant to the community. The program also includes a 5-day, 4-night trip to Washington, D.C. in May 2024 to examine issues of national and international importance.


Accommodations and Meals

The retreat-seminars will be held at Serra Retreat in Malibu, Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, and Villa Graziadio Executive Center on the Pepperdine Malibu campus. 

All participants will have a private room (some Serra Retreat rooms have shared bathrooms).  All session meals and accommodations and travel to Washington D.C. are free of charge*, thanks to a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

*COMMUNITAS is funded by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. All lodging, meals, and the program itself can be offered without charge to pastors selected to participate. Given the cost of the program (estimated at $15,500 per person) and the limited number of available awards, we do ask that all candidates only apply if they can commit to attending every session of the program.




 Cohort 5 Schedule: 2024

Getting to Know Each Other Via Zoom

January 23, 2024, 9:30 am - 12:00 pm, Zoom Session

Zoom session

Session 1: Engaging a Vibrant Community of Faith
Organizational and Community Development and Leadership

Dr. Gary Mangiofico, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, Pepperdine University 

January 29-31, 2024, Serra Retreat, Malibu


Dr. Gary Mangiofico



Session 2: Hope for the Captive
Criminal Justice and Prison Reform

Dr. Angela Hawken, Marron Institute, N.Y.U.

March 11-13, 2024, Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, Ventura

Dr. Angela Hawken

Session 3: Who is My Neighbor?
Migration and the Making of America
Travel to Washington, D.C.

Professor Jennifer Koh, Caruso School of Law, Pepperdine University 

May 20-24, 2024, Washington, D.C. 



Professor Jennifer Koh



Family Gathering (Optional; Spouses and Children Invited)

June 15, 2024




Session 4: Not in My Neighborhood
Sustainability and Poverty

Dr. Christopher Doran, Seaver College, Pepperdine University 

August 5-7, 2024, Serra Retreat, Malibu

Dr. Christopher Doran



Session 5: Caring for Whole Communities
Mental Health, Addiction and Intimate Partner Violence

Dr. Carrie Castaneda-Sound, Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine University

September 30-October 2, 2024, Serra Retreat, Malibu

Dr. Carrie Castaneda-Sound

Session 6: Head and Heart
Navigating the World of NonProfits

Dr. Regan Schaffer, Seaver College, Pepperdine University

The Journey Forward: Reflections and Learnings

Dr. Gary Mangiofico, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, Pepperdine University

November 11-13, 2024, Villa Graziadio Executive Center, Malibu

Dr. Regan Schaffer

*In addition to these sessions, pastors will be invited to join program leaders for several optional informal meals for fellowship and to further discuss material presented during sessions. 








Application Materials

If you would like to recommend a pastor for this or future cohorts, click HERE. Cohort participants are chosen based on criteria outlined in Characteristics of a Successful Applicant.

See the Cohort Participants page for information on past cohort members and program staff.

The application for the 2024 COMMUNITAS Cohort is closed.