Christian Theological Seminary announces 26 Indiana congregations awarded Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program grants

Sep 16, 2014 | Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs


Note to media: Please check the list of recipients in the body of this release to see if a congregation(s) in your community is among award recipients. This release and a full list of recipients are available at and


September 15, 2014

Contact:     Robert Saler
                 317-931-2348 /

INDIANAPOLIS- Christian Theological Seminary, in its role of administering the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs, has awarded 26 grants to congregations in 16 Indiana communities to enable their pastors to step away from daily responsibilities for a period of reflection and renewal. The 2014 Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations provides pastors with time for travel and immersive experiences in different cultures, opportunities to participate in spiritual retreats and pilgrimages, and focused periods for writing and research about challenges facing Christian communities.

“Pastors play an indispensable role in guiding the work of congregations and the daily demands of leadership are unending,” said Dr. Christopher Coble, vice president for religion at the Endowment. “Lilly Endowment is pleased that this program enables hardworking pastors to step away briefly from their ministerial responsibilities for rest and renewal.”

Congregations that are awarded the Clergy Renewal Program grants nominated their pastors to receive the honor. They represent a diverse group that includes Protestant, Catholic and nondenominational congregations. Congregational leaders worked with their pastor to design their renewal program and to determine how their pastor would use the grant funds to replenish, restore and renew their pastor’s ministry. Travel to domestic and international destinations and journeys into nature are popular activities for participating pastors. One pastor plans to travel to Italy and Uganda to explore global Ignatian spirituality, while another will engage in a walking pilgrimage in Spain. Another pastor will pursue a passion for watercolor painting.

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,” Coble said “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. 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 in Indianapolis, noted that the Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations gives congregations an opportunity to demonstrate support, trust and encouragement for their pastors.

 “The program is designed to respect the innate human need for times of service and replenishment,” Saler said. “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.”

Since Lilly Endowment introduced the Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations in 1990 and the National Clergy Renewal Program grants in 2000, more than 1,900 congregations across the nation have participated in the programs. In the 2014 round of funding, Indiana congregations received grants totaling more than $1 million.

“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.”

The Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations and the National Clergy Renewal Program are part of Christian Theological Seminary’s Center for Pastoral Excellence, which has administered the clergy renewal programs since 2012.

For a full list of the 2014 award recipients, please see the full press release (PDF, 179 KB).

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