The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has announced grants totaling nearly $70 million to seventy-eight organizations working to support pastors in their ministry.
Awarded through the endowment's Thriving in Ministry Initiative, grants ranging between $31,500 and $1 million will enable the recipient organizations to create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as role models and mentors. The grantees represent a variety of Christian traditions and include a theological school that will work with new pastors serving congregations in marginalized communities; a university that will help rural pastors new to their ministries form mentoring relationships with experienced pastors and consult with experts about issues facing rural communities; an independent religious organization that will support women clergy serving in their first years of ministry as well as women serving in their first three years as senior pastors; and a congregation that will work to build connections among pastors across a large metro region with the aim of strengthening their efforts to support positive social change and reconciliation.
In addition, the endowment announced a $2.6 million award to Duke University to provide resources and other support to organizations participating in the initiative. To that end, Duke will convene program leaders for mutual learning and networking and will share insights about their programs with religious leaders who are responsible for the care of clergy and congregations.
"Leading a congregation today is multifaceted and exceptionally demanding," said Lilly Endowment vice president for religion Christopher L. Coble. "Pastors have shared with us that they often find themselves isolated from colleagues and sometimes struggle to keep up with new challenges posed by today's rapid pace of change. When pastors have opportunities to build relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to understand and negotiate new challenges, and their leadership thrives. These promising programs will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions."
For a complete list of Thriving in Ministry grant recipients, see the Lilly Endowment website.