Christian Theological Seminary Announces 146 Congregations Awarded Lilly Endowment 2016 National Clergy Renewal Program Grants

Oct 03, 2016 | Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs


Christian Theological Seminary, in its role of administering the Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program, has awarded grants to 146 congregations located in 37 states and the District of Columbia. The 2016 program 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, which often includes travel, scholarly research and immersive experiences with different cultures and traditions.

Congregations awarded the National Clergy Renewal Program grants nominated their pastors to receive this honor. Pastors in the 2016 program represent a diverse group that includes Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and nondenominational congregations. In consultation with their congregations, the pastors determine how they will use the grants to replenish, restore and renew their ministries. Travel to domestic and international destinations and journeys into nature are popular activities for grant recipients. One pastor will investigate the origins of the Reformation during the commemoration of its 500th anniversary, while another pastor will visit his ancestral land of Korea in order to consider how preaching there is affecting the growth of churches. 

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 National Clergy Renewal Program grants in 2000, more than 2,300 congregations across the nation have participated in the program. Congregations in the 2016 program received grants totaling more than $6 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 Dr. Christopher L. 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.” 

Christian congregations were invited to apply for program grants of up to $50,000. The application process was participatory in nature, involving congregations and their pastors in the design and development of the renewal experience. 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 National Clergy Renewal Program 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 leaders’ 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.”

Award Recipients:


Birmingham, AL – Tabernacle Baptist Church, the Rev. Christopher Hamlin
Fairhope, AL – Grace Church, Inc., the Rev. Milton Davis
Huntsville, AL – Central Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Randall Jenkins
Tuscaloosa, AL – Christ Episcopal Church, the Rev. Catherine Collier

Little Rock, AR – St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Mary Vano

Artesia, CA – Trinity Christian Reformed Church, the Rev. Erick Westra
Auburn, CA – Sierra Grace Fellowship, the Rev. Todd Cleek
Burbank, CA – Bethany Community Church, the Rev. Samuel Bang
Fullerton, CA – St. Andrew's Parish, the Rev. Beth Kelly
Irvine, CA – Irvine United Church of Christ, the Rev. Paul Tellstrom
Riverside, CA – First Congregational Church, the Rev. Hannah Cranbury
Sacramento, CA – St. John's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Frank Espegren
San Clemente, CA – The Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, the Rev. Jeffrey Frohner

Avon, CO – Eagle River Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Robert Wilson
Broomfield, CO – Church of the Holy Comforter, the Rev. Kimberly Seidman
Centennial, CO – St. Thomas More Catholic Parish, the Rev. Thomas Fryar
Denver, CO – Korean Christian Church Inc., the Rev. Byoung Song
Denver, CO – Saint Patrick Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Dudley Sunn

Newtown, CT – Newtown Congregational Church, UCC, the Rev. Matthew Crebbin
North Stonington, CT – Congregational Church of North Stonington, the Rev. Susan Latourette
Storrs Mansfield, CT – Storrs Congregational Church, Inc., UCC, the Rev. Matthew Emery

District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. – Lutheran Church of the Reformation , the Rev. Michael Wilker
Washington, D.C. – The Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Molly Blythe-Teichert
Washington, D. C. – The Georgetown Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Camille Murray

Haines City, FL – First Christian Church, the Rev. Gary West
Miami Lakes, FL – Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Rev. Joseph Lucas

Athens, GA – Redeemer Presbyterian Church, the Rev. William Farnsworth
Cartersville, GA – The Episcopal Church of the Ascension, the Rev. Mary Erickson
Cave Spring, GA – Cave Spring United Methodist Church, Inc., the Rev. John Page
LaGrange, GA – St. Mark's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Robert Pruitt
Rome, GA – Seven Hills Fellowship, Inc., the Rev. Bryan Pierce
Stone Mountain, GA – Victory for the World Church, Inc., the Rev. Kenneth Samuel

Ames, IA – First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Mary Button-Harrison
Blue Grass, IA – Blue Grass Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Mary Pugh
Central City, IA – The United Church of Christ, the Rev. Vicki Engelman
Des Moines, IA – New Hope UMC / Johnston River of Life / Hopkins Grove UMC, the Rev. Craig Ferguson
Orange City, IA – First Reformed Church, the Rev. Timothy Breen

Meridian, ID – Meridian Friends Church, the Rev. Kenneth Redford
Sandpoint, ID – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Andrew Kennaly

Elk Grove Village, IL – Palm Tree Wesleyan Church, the Rev. Sunju Chong
Glencoe, IL – Glencoe Union Church, the Rev. David Wood
Northfield, IL – The Episcopal Church of St. James the Less, the Rev. Lisa Senuta
Waukegan, IL – St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Jeffrey Koth

Garden City, KS – The United Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Denise Pass
Olathe, KS – Redemption Church, the Rev. Tim Suttle

Louisville, KY – Episcopal Church of the Advent, the Rev. Timothy Mitchell
Louisville, KY – Korea Saehan Church of Louisville, the Rev. Sanghun Kim
Nicholasville, KY – Providence Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Carol Devine

Baton Rouge, LA – University Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Patricia (Patti) Snyder

Lee, MA – First Congregational Church, UCC, the Rev. William Neil
Southborough, MA – St. Marks Episcopal Church, the Rev. Philip LaBelle

Baltimore, MD – Shiloh Baptist Church, the Rev. Heber Brown II
Bethesda, MD – Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, the Rev. David Gray
Glen Burnie, MD – Harundale Community Church Presbyterian, the Rev. Tracey Davenport

Boothbay Harbor, ME – St. Columba's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Maria Hoecker

Benton Harbor, MI – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Laurie Hartzell
Detroit, MI – Mack Avenue Community Church, Inc., the Rev. Leon Stevenson
Grand Rapids, MI – First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Robert Hundley
Grand Rapids, MI – The Branch Church of the Reformed Church in America, the Rev. Christopher DeBlaay
Grandville, MI – Trinity Christian Reformed Church, the Rev. Gerald Koning
South Haven, MI – The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, the Rev. Michael Ryan
Troy, MI – Lutheran Church of the Master, the Rev. Paul Walters
Waldron, MI – Salem Mennonite Church, the Rev. Deanna (Dee) Custar

Excelsior, MN – Trinity Episcopal Church, the Rev. Devon Anderson
Minneapolis, MN – Diamond Lake Lutheran Church, the Rev. Mark Orvick
Minneapolis, MN – First Congregational Church, UCC, the Rev. Jane McBride
Minnetonka, MN – St. David's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Katherine Lewis
Roseville, MN – Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, the Rev. Timothy Bernard
Stillwater, MN – Episcopal Church of the Ascension, the Rev. Holt Grace

Blue Springs, MO – First Blue Springs United Methodist Church, the Rev. Sarah (Salley) Haynes
Kirkwood, MO – Kirkwood United Church of Christ, the Rev. Betsy Happel
St. Louis, MO – New City Fellowship of St. Louis, the Rev. Kevin VandenBrink
St. Louis, MO – St. Peter's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Kelly Carlson
Washington, MO – Peace Lutheran Church, the Rev. Aimee Appell
Webster Groves, MO – First Congregational Church of Webster Groves, the Rev. David Denoon

North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC – HillSong Church, A Baptist Fellowship of Chapel Hill, the Rev. Robert Tennant
Charlotte, NC – Christ the King Lutheran Church, the Rev. Steven Bollinger
Charlotte, NC – St. Peter's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Ollie Rencher
Charlotte, NC – The Church at Charlotte , the Rev. David Huber
Cornelius, NC – Northcross Church PCA, the Rev. Chip Robert Sneed
Efland, NC – Efland Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Cheryl Henry
Huntersville, NC – Hopewell Presbyterian Church PC (USA), the Rev. Allan Purtill, Jr.
Jamestown, NC – Friendly Hill Church, PCA, the Rev. Nathan Kline
Lillington, NC – Crossroads Church of Lillington, the Rev. Kenneth Dalton
Norwood, NC – Norwood First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Julie Hill
Raleigh, NC – Mount Moriah Baptist Church, the Rev. Michael Tolar
Wilmington, NC – First Baptist Church, the Rev. Matthew Cook

North Dakota
Kindred, ND – Kindred Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Andrew Schlecht

Lincoln, NE – St. Mark's on the Campus Episcopal Church, the Rev. Jerrold Thompson
Omaha, NE – West Hills Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Deena Candler

New Jersey
Jersey City, NJ – St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Jessica Lambert
Lawrenceville, NJ – Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Nina Reeder
Westwood, NJ – Parkside Community Church, the Rev. Rodney Haveman

New Mexico
Placitas, NM – Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Drew Henry

New York
Brooklyn, NY – Resurrection Williamsburg, the Rev. Thomas Aiuto
Buffalo, NY – Lafayette Street Church Society, the Rev. Andrew Ludwig
Cheektowaga, NY – ZionQuest Christian Fellowship, the Rev. Kimberly Gladden
Rochester, NY – Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Aileen Robbins
Scarsdale, NY – The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Greenville, the Rev. Edward Schreur
Schoharie, NY – Schoharie Reformed Church, the Rev. Sherri & Michael Meyer-Veen
Youngstown, NY – First Presbyterian Society of the Town of Porter, the Rev. Rex Stewart

Akron, OH – Lakeside Christian Church, Inc., the Rev. Petar Nenadov
Berlin Heights, OH – First Congregational United Church of Christ, the Rev. Casey Cain
Heath, OH – Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Kristin Santiago
Medina, OH – First Christian Church, the Rev. Laura Fitt-Baird
North Canton, OH – North Canton Faith United Methodist Church, the Rev. Steven Costello
Pepper Pike, OH – Garfield Memorial United Methodist Church, the Rev. Warren (Chip) Freed, Jr.

Tulsa, OK – St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Mary Ann Hill

Beaverton, OR – Mission of the Atonement, the Rev. Laurie Caesar
Eugene, OR – Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, the Rev. Brent Was
Lake Oswego, OR – Lake Oswego United Church of Christ, the Rev. Jennie Ott

Aliquippa, PA – House of Prayer Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Michael Sourwine
Ardmore, PA – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. James Hodsden
Easton, PA – Bridge Community Church of Easton, the Rev. Michael Hollenbach
Hanover, PA – Hanover Valley Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Robert Derreth
Phoenixville, PA – St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Cynthia Krommes
Pittsburgh, PA – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Thomas Hall
Stroudsburg, PA – Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church, the Rev. Nicholas Solak

Rhode Island
Charlestown, RI – St. Andrew Lutheran Church, the Rev. Lisa Hazelwood

South Carolina
Charleston, SC – The Independent or Congregational Church in Charleston, the Rev. Jeremy Rutledge
Moore, SC – Hub City Church, the Rev. Jonathan Everette
Spartanburg, SC – Saint John's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Michael Shackelford

Memphis, TN – Church of the Holy Spirit, the Rev. Michael Werkhoven

Conroe, TX – Tree of Life Lutheran Church, the Rev. Christopher Lake

Annandale, VA – St. Alban's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Jeffrey Shankles
Newport News, VA – Denbigh United Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Deborah Dail
Norfolk, VA – St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, the Rev. John Rohrs

Franklin, VT – Franklin United Church, the Rev. Jason McConnell

Bellingham, WA – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Douglas Bunnell
Bothell, WA – First Lutheran Church, the Rev. Tor Berg
Fox Island, WA – Fox Island United Church of Christ, the Rev. Janet Matthews
Mount Vernon, WA – Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Daniel Holland
Shoreline, WA – First Lutheran Church of Richmond Beach, the Rev. John Bjorge
Spokane Valley, WA – Advent Lutheran Church (ELCA), the Rev. Matthew Larson
Tacoma, WA – Immanuel Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Jennifer Rake-Marona

Brooklyn, WI – Brooklyn Lutheran Church, the Rev. Rebecca Ninke
Brown Deer, WI – Trinity Community Church, the Rev. Bill Flavin
Cedarburg, WI – Community United Methodist Church, the Rev. David Blackmer
Chippewa Falls, WI – Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Paul Oppedahl
Kenosha, WI – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Lance Loveall
Madison, WI – Trinity Lutheran Church, the Rev. Susan Schneider
Mukwonago, WI – Vernon Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Mary ("Molly") Doreza
Plover, WI – Woodlands Church, the Rev. Brian Berg
Rio, WI – Bonnet Prairie Lutheran Church, the Rev. Joan Wittrock
Superior, WI – Our Savior's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Sarah Kerkes
Verona, WI – Sugar River United Methodist Church, the Rev. Gary Holmes

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly and his two sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., with gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical company.  The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development.  Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians.  It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.  More information can be found at

About Christian Theological Seminary
Located in Indianapolis, IN, Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) is a fully accredited ecumenical seminary, open to all, affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  It offers eight graduate-level degree programs, including programs in theology, ministry, and counseling, with specializations in ministries that emphasize the arts and programs for lifelong learning.  More than 30 denominations are represented among CTS faculty and students. Additional information about CTS is available at  

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