Christian Theological Seminary, in its role of administering the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs, has awarded 29 grants to congregations in 17 Indiana communities. The 2016 Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations allows congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from ministerial duties and responsibilities. Pastors use the respite from congregational leadership for reflection and renewal, including travel, scholarly research and immersive experiences with various cultures and traditions.
Congregations awarded the grants nominated their pastors to receive the honor. Pastors in the 2016 program lead Protestant and nondenominational congregations. Each recipient, in consultation with the congregation, determines how he or she will use the grant to replenish, restore and renew his or her ministry. Travel to domestic and international destinations and journeys into nature are popular activities for grant recipients. One pastor plans to travel to the Holy Land in order to meditate on the life and journeys of Christ and the early church. Another pastor with an interest in global climate change is traveling in order to immerse himself in various extreme climates across the United States and Canada as a way of sparking his creativity in addressing creation care.
In addition to travel as a form of renewal, some pastors will use their time away from congregational leadership to engage in new spiritual disciplines, focus on time with loved ones and study topics that renew their excitement for preaching and congregational leadership.
Since Lilly Endowment introduced the Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations and National Clergy Renewal Program grants in 1999 and 2000, respectively, more than 2,300 congregations across the nation have participated in the programs. In the 2016 round of funding, Indiana congregations received grants totaling more than $1.3 million. The grants recognize the tremendous amount of energy, time and leadership that pastors invest in their congregations.
“Lilly Endowment intends for this program to enable pastors to live for a while at a different pace and in a new environment, in Sabbath time and space,” said Christopher Coble, the Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We can think of no better way to honor these hardworking, faithful men and women than to help them experience personal growth and spiritual renewal in ways that they themselves design and find meaningful. We regularly hear that these renewal experiences are transformative for pastors, their families and their congregations.”
Congregations were invited to apply for program grants of up to $50,000. The application process was participatory in nature, involving congregations in the design and development of the renewal experiences. Up to $15,000 of the grant could be allocated to fund interim pastoral leadership, as well as renewal activities within the congregation. Pastors were encouraged to include their families in the renewal activities.
The Rev. Dr. Robert Saler, director of the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs at Christian Theological Seminary, noted that the Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations leverages the reciprocal dynamics of support, trust and encouragement reflective of healthy congregations. “The program is designed to respect the innate human need for times of service and replenishment. It provides a means for congregations to express appreciation for their leader’s service and respect for his or her health and energy for continued ministry,” Saler said.
Christian Theological Seminary’s Center for Pastoral Excellence was selected in 2012 to administer the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs. “At a time when society is experiencing unprecedented levels of change at ever-increasing speeds, it is rewarding to offer programs that recognize the value of retreat and renewal,” Saler said. “We are honored and privileged to work with Lilly Endowment in its support of congregational leaders.”
Anderson — Bethany Church of Anderson Inc., the Rev. Robert Bell
Bloomington — St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Lyle McKee
Brazil — Grace Chapel of Brazil Inc., the Rev. Timothy Russell
Carmel — Mercy Road Church Inc., the Rev. Josh Husmann
Columbus — Ogilville Christian Church, the Rev. Virgil Clotfelter
Evansville — St. Peter’s Highland UCC, the Rev. Brian Buschkill
Fort Wayne — Saint Joseph United Methodist Church, the Rev. Russell Abel
Fortville — New Life Christian Fellowship Inc., the Rev. Mark Adcock
Goshen — Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, the Rev. Andrew Wollman
Indianapolis — Acton United Methodist Church, the Rev. Matthew Stultz
Indianapolis — College Park Church Inc., the Rev. Eric Anderson
Indianapolis — Faith Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Charlotte Lohrenz
Indianapolis — First Mennonite Church, the Rev. Shannon Dycus
Indianapolis — Indiana Full Gospel Korean Church of the Rock, the Rev. Youngsoo Kim
Indianapolis — Linwood Christian Church, the Rev. Carolyn Watkins
Indianapolis — Northminster Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Teri Thomas
Indianapolis — Northview Church of the Brethren, the Rev. Robert Miller
Indianapolis — Resurrection Lutheran Church, the Rev. Mitchell Phillips
Indianapolis — The Movie Theater Church, the Rev. Ethan Maple
Indianapolis — Vineyard Community Church – Indianapolis, the Rev. Stephen Gooder
Jeffersonville — St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Revs. Donald and Nancy Woodworth-Hill
Muncie — First Baptist Church Muncie, the Rev. Wade Allen
Noblesville — First Presbyterian Church of Noblesville, the Rev. Eric Gale
Noblesville — Genesis Church, the Rev. Paul Mumaw
South Bend — Crest Manor Church of the Brethren, the Rev. Bradley Bohrer
Syracuse — Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Wendolyn Piano
Terre Haute — World Gospel Church, the Rev. John (Alfy) Austin
Washington — Bethany Christian Church, the Rev. Matthew Merold
Zionsville — Eagle Alliance Church, the Rev. Eric Simpson