The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has announced grants totaling $44.5 million to colleges and universities in twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia in support of summer institutes and other programs aimed at encouraging high school students to explore theology and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.
The grants are part of the endowment's commitment to identify and cultivate a cadre of theologically minded youth who will become leaders in church and society. With guidance and support from religion and theology faculty, chaplains, and local pastors, students will study scripture and key theological texts; take part in service projects and hands-on ministry experiences; examine the moral and ethical dimensions of contemporary issues; and learn about religious practices, including prayer, contemplation, and worship. Most programs will take place during the summer and will offer short-term residencies to groups of twenty-four to three hundred students. The programs reflect a diverse range of theological traditions, including Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed traditions, as well as Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal, and historic African-American Christian communities.
In addition, a grant to the Forum for Theological Exploration will establish a program that brings together leaders of the high school youth theology institutes to foster mutual learning and support.
"These colleges and universities are well-positioned to reach out to high school students in this way," said Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at the endowment. "They have outstanding faculty in theology and religion who know how to help young people explore the wisdom of religious traditions and apply these insights to contemporary challenges."
For a complete list of grant recipients, visit the Lilly Endowment website.