Christian Theological Seminary Announces 146 Congregations Awarded Lilly Endowment 2017 National Clergy Renewal Program Grants

Sep 13, 2017 | 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 2017 program allows congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from ministerial duties and responsibilities for reflection and renewal. Pastors use the respite from congregational leadership to engage in renewal experiences that often include travel, scholarly research and immersive experiences with different cultures and traditions.

Congregations awarded the National Clergy Renewal Program grants applied to the program to honor their pastors. Congregations in the 2017 program represent a diverse group that includes Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and nondenominational traditions. The congregations and pastors worked together to determine how they will use the grants to replenish, restore and renew their pastors’ ministries. Travel to domestic and international destinations and journeys into nature are popular activities for grant recipients. One pastor will travel to Africa to experience the vitality of missions work and spiritual life in that context, while another pastor will visit key sites from her childhood in order to weave together the narrative of her own formation in the faith.

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. Study topics include congregations engaging vital outreach ministries in settings with changing neighborhood demographics and historical figures of Anglican history.

Since Lilly Endowment introduced the National Clergy Renewal Program grants in 2000, more than 2,450 congregations across the nation have participated in the program. Congregations in the 2017 program received grants totaling more than $6.5 million. The grants recognize the tremendous amount of energy, time and leadership that pastors invest in their congregations. 

“Lilly Endowment recognizes the important role that pastors play in shaping and guiding the work of Christian churches,” 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 step away from the demands of leadership for a brief period of rest and spiritual renewal. We regularly hear that these renewal experiences are transformative for pastors, their families and their congregations.”

Christian congregations were invited to apply for 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 has administered the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs since 2012. “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.

Award Recipients:

Little Rock, AR – Second Baptist Church, the Rev. Preston Clegg

Phoenix, AZ – Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Lara E. Forbes
Tucson, AZ – Grace Community Covenant Church, the Rev. David Stanton Hillis

Albany, CA – Solano Community Church, the Rev. Andrew Hoffman
Auburn, CA – The First Congregational Church of Auburn, United Church of Christ, the Rev. Daniel Spacek
Davis, CA – Christ Church of Davis, the Rev. Eric Dirksen
Grover Beach, CA – First Presbyterian Church of Arroyo Grande , the Rev. Andy Rock
Long Beach, CA – Fountain of Life Covenant Church, the Rev. John Edwin Teter
Los Angeles, CA – St. Camillus Center for Spiritual Care, the Rev. Christopher Ponnet
Mountain View, CA – Chinese Church in Christ Mountain View, the Rev. Beland Huang
San Diego, CA – Pacific Beach Christian Church, the Rev. Brian Daly
San Diego, CA – Penasquitos Lutheran Church, the Rev. Sean Kelly
San Diego, CA – Pioneer Ocean View United Church of Christ, the Rev. Mary Sue Brookshire
San Francisco, CA – Golden Gate Christian Reformed Church, the Rev. Jack Lum

Denver, CO – Washington Park United Church of Christ, the Rev. Todd Smiedendorf
Fort Collins, CO – Heart of the Rockies Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Melissa St. Clair
Greeley, CO – First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, the Rev. Ben Konecny
Longmont, CO – The Journey of Longmont, the Rev. Richard Ebbers
Monument, CO – Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church, the Rev. Robert Kaylor

Bridgeport, CT – Mount Aery Baptist Church, the Rev. Anthony L Bennett

District of Columbia
Washington, DC – The District Church, the Rev.  Aaron Graham

Cape Coral, FL – Grace United Methodist Church of Cape Coral Inc., the Rev. Wesley Olds
Indialantic, FL – Eastminster Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Timothy Rogers-Martin
Mt. Dora, FL – St. Philip Lutheran Church, the Rev. Johan Arndt Anders Bergh
Oviedo, FL – Covenant Presbyterian Church of Oviedo, Inc., the Rev. Randall Ray Greenwald
Tallahassee, FL – St. John's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Abigail White Moon

Atlanta, GA – Edgewood Church, Inc., the Revs. James Nathan & Carrie Lynn Dean
Atlanta, GA – Village Church of East Atlanta, Inc., the Rev. Matthew Armstrong

Sioux Center, IA – Bethel Christian Reformed Church, the Rev. John Lee
Steamboat Rock, IA – Steamboat Rock Baptist Church, the Rev. Harrison Lippert

Chicago, IL – Epiphany United Church of Christ of Chicago, the Rev. Kevin James McLemore
Chicago, IL – Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Beth Lynn Brown
Chicago, IL – St. Bartholomew Church in Archdiocese of Chicago, the Rev. Ricardo Castillo-Castillo
Edwardsville, IL – First Christian Church of Edwardsville, the Rev. James Brooks
Hebron, IL – St. Johns Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hebron, the Rev. Sarah Wilson

Lawrenceburg, KY – First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Micki McHugh
Lexington, KY – The Episcopal Church of St. Michael the Archangel, the Rev. Laurie Brock
Lexington, KY – Twin Pines Christian Church, the Rev. Bennie Braddick
Louisville, KY – Saint Stephen Lutheran Church , the Rev. Kerri McFarland
Wilmore, KY – Wilmore Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Beth Garrod-Logsdon

Arlington, MA – Free Christian Church of Andover, the Rev. Jonathan Paul
Arlington, MA – The Church of Our Saviour, the Rev. Malia Crawford
Dedham, MA – Fellowship Bible Church of Dedham, Inc., the Rev. Stephen Andrew Johnson
Hamilton, MA – First Congregational Church of Hamilton, the Rev. Kevin Baird
Hingham, MA – Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist, the Rev. Tim Schenck
Norwood, MA – Grace Episcopal Church, the Rev. Robert John Brockman
Rockport, MA – The First Congregational Church of Rockport, UCC, the Rev. Derek Peter van Gulden
Westford, MA – St. Mark's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Suzanne Wade

Fallston, MD – Fallston Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Kimberly Secrist Ashby
Townson, MD – The Church of the Good Shepherd, the Rev. Arianne Rice 

Portland, ME – Christ Church of Portland, the Rev. Mark Pearson
Waterville, ME – Pleasant St. United Methodist Church, the Rev. Thomas Blackstone

Ann Arbor, MI – Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ, the Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware
Ann Arbor, MI – First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor, the Revs. Paul & Stacey Simpson Duke
Farmington Hills, MI – Grace Chapel, EPC, the Rev. Douglas Walker
Kalamazoo, MI – Haven Reformed Church, the Rev. Shawn Robert Johnson
Kalamazoo, MI – Westwood Church of God – Kalamazoo, the Rev. William Ferguson
Petosky, MI – Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, ELCA, the Rev. Sherry Elizabeth McGuffin
Rockford, MI – Blythefield Christian Reformed Church, the Rev. Darrin Jay Brink Compagner
Rockford, MI – First Congregational Church of Rockford, Michigan (United Church of Christ), the Rev. Laurel Jean TenHave-Chapman
Saint Joseph, MI – Christian Reformed Church of Saint Joseph, the Rev. John DeVries
Sturgis, MI – First Presbyterian Church of Sturgis, Michigan, the Rev. Michael Wicks
Zeeland, MI – Second Reformed Church , the Rev. Karsten Voskuil

Hopkins, MN – Church of the Cross, the Rev. Christian Ruch
Minneapolis, MN – Community Covenant Church, the Rev. Luke Swanson
Minneapolis, MN – Judson Memorial Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minn, the Rev. Glen Travis Norvell
Minneapolis, MN – Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Kara Kristen Root
Minneapolis, MN – St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Revs. Luisa & Patrick Cabello Hansel
Saint Paul, MN – Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Jered Weber-Johnson

Bridgeton, MO – Arlington United Methodist, the Rev. Barbara Phifer
Dardenne Prairie, MO – Morning Star Church, the Rev. Charles Schreiner
Independence, MO – First Presbyterian Church of Independence, MO, the Rev. David Clark Carlson
Uniontown, MO – Grace Lutheran Church, the Rev. Paul Richard Winningham

North Carolina
Charlotte, NC – Light of Christ United Methodist Church, the Rev. Marianne McMasters Romanat
Charlotte, NC – Myers Park Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Julie Coffman Hester
Davidson, NC – Church of the Good Shepherd, the Rev. Kyle Alexander Wallace
Elizabeth City, NC – Cann Memorial Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Elizabeth Mickey Cluff

Seward, NE – St. John Lutheran Church, the Rev. Scott D. Bruick

New Hampshire
Rindge, NH – First Congregational Church and Society of Rindge, the Rev. David Jadlocki

New Jersey
Milford, NJ – Alexandria First Presbyterian Church of Mount Pleasant, the Rev. Nicholas Hatch
Nutley, NJ – Vincent United Methodist Church, the Rev. David LeDuc

New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM – Covenant Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Seth Niles Finch

New York
Brooklyn, NY – St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, the Rev. John Edward Denaro
Cambria Heights, NY – St. David's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Joshua Mastine Nisbett
Coopertown, NY – First Presbyeterian Church of Cooperstown, NY, the Rev. Elsie Armstrong Rhodes
Farmington, NY – Farmington United Methodist Church, the Rev. Jeff Long
New York, NY – Uptown Community Church, the Rev. Reyn Cabinte
Rochester, NY – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Melissa Lynn DeRosia
Rye, NY – Presbyterian Church in the Town of Rye, the Rev. Daniel Love
Suffern, NY – All Souls Community Church Inc., the Rev. William Reinmuth
Vestal, NY – Grace Point Church, the Rev. Kyle Dean Kaurin
Warsaw, NY – United Church of Warsaw, the Rev. Barbara Therese

Columbus, OH – Columbus Mennonite Fellowship, the Rev. Joel Miller
Macedonia, OH – Good Shepherd Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Melanie Delaney
Maumee, OH – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Clinton Wiley Tolbert
Napoleon, OH – St. Augustine Catholic Church, the Rev. J. Douglas Garand
North Olmsted, OH – John Knox Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Susanne Meabon Bendoraitis
Sidney, OH – Green View United Church of Christ, the Rev. Larry A. Grunden, Sr.
Toledo, OH – Monroe Street United Methodist Church, the Rev. Larry Clark
Warren, OH – St. Paul Lutheran Church, the Rev. Ann Marie Winters

Yukon, OK – Resurrection Lutheran Church, the Rev. Mark Borseth

Baker City, OR – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Kathryn Nicole
La Grande, OR – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Laura Hudson
Lake Oswego, OR – Mountain Park Church, the Rev. Gregg Borror
Redmond, OR – Zion Lutheran Church, the Rev. Eric Burtness
Salem, OR – Bridge Covenant Church, the Revs. Carmen & Scott Bensink Lewis
Salem, OR – St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Brandon Lee Filbert

Ambler, PA – First Presbyterian Church of Ambler, the Rev. Ryan Balsan
Beaver, PA – Park Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Mark Boyd
Bristol, PA – Redemption Church of Bristol, Inc., the Rev. Gary Alloway
Erie, PA – First Alliance Church, the Rev. Robert Harris
Hatboro, PA – Hatboro Baptist Church, the Rev. Douglas Stratton
Philadelphia, PA – George W South Memorial Church of the Advocate, the Rev. Renee McKenzie-Hayward
Pittsburgh, PA – Berkeley Hills Lutheran Church, the Rev. Scott Alan Bryte
Pittsburgh, PA – Christ Community Church of the South Hills, the Rev. Terry Timm
Yardley, PA – Yardley United Methodist Church, the Rev. Cynthia Elizabeth Skripak

Rhode Island
West Warwick, RI – Emanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Todd Stange

South Carolina
Clemson, SC – Fort Hill Presbyterian Church (USA), the Rev. Laura Conrad
Ninety Six, SC – St. Paul United Methodist Church, the Rev. Valerie Mireb

Memphis, TN – Downtown Church Presbyterian, the Rev. Richard Rieves
Murfreesboro, TN – First Presbyterian Church, Murfreesboro, the Rev. John Austin Hinkle, Jr.

Flower Mound, TX – First Korean Baptist Church of Lewisville, the Rev. Kyung D. Kim
Galveston, TX – Trinity Episcopal Church, the Rev. Susan Kennard
Houston, TX – Christ Episcopal Church, the Rev. Arthur Callaham
Marble Falls, TX – St. Peter's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Harold Wayne Vanicek, Jr.
Rockwall, TX – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Cheryl A. Taylor
Rockwall, TX – Transformation Anglican Church, the Rev. Donald Rogers McLane
San Antonio, TX – Crossroads Baptist Church of San Antonio, Texas – the Rev. Douglas Alan Diehl

Portsmouth, VA – Great Awakening, the Rev. Nanette Hilliard
Powhatan, VA – St. Luke's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Sandra B. Kerner
Springfield, VA – St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Peter Ackerman
Virginia Beach, VA – Coastal Community Church, the Rev. William (Hank) Brooks
Williamsburg, VA – First Baptist Church, the Rev. Reginald Davis

Brattleboro, VT – St. Michael's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Mary Lindquist

Ferndale, WA – Christ Lutheran Church, the Rev. Jana Schofield
Lacey, WA – St. Mark Lutheran Church, the Revs. Beth Ann & Eric Louis Utto-Galarneau
Medina, WA – St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the Rev. Alexander Breckinridge
Olympia, WA – First Christian Church, the Rev. Amy LaCroix
Vancouver, WA – Columbia Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Matthew John Peyton Overton

La Crosse, WI – First Presbyterian Church of La Crosse, the Rev. Johnathan Taylor Haley
Madison, WI – St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Miranda Hassett
Onalaska, WI – First Lutheran Church, the Rev. Karyn Bodenschatz
Pewaukee, WI – Queen of Apostles Congregation, the Rev. Charles T. Hanel
Sheboygan, WI – St. Peter Claver, the Rev. Paul Fliss
Washburn, WI – Messiah Lutheran Church, the Rev. Nancy J. Hanson

Dubois, WY – Saint Thomas' Episcopal Church, the Rev. Melinda Denise Bobo

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 nine graduate-level degree programs, each rooted in a rich history of biblical scholarship, theological openness, and spiritual discernment. More than 30 denominations are represented among CTS faculty and students. Additional information about CTS is available at

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