2014 National Clergy Renewal Program
- Oct 22, 2014
- Category: General
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Holy Innocents Episcopal Church has received a grant to enable its Rector, The Rev. Michael R. Sullivan to participate in the 2014 National Clergy Renewal Program funded by the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theology Seminary. Holy Innocents is one of the 140 congregations across the country selected to participate I this competitive grant program. Established by the Endowment in 2000, the program’s grant allows Christian congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from their ministerial duties and responsibilities.
Ministers whose congregations are awarded the grants use their time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in a period of reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering ministers a carefully considered respite that may include travel, study, rest, immersive arts and cultural experiences, and prayer.
Through the National Clergy Renewal Program, congregations apply for grants of up to $50,00 to support renewal program for their pastors. Collaborative in nature and implementation, the program allows congregations to partner with their ministers in developing an experience that addresses their unique renewal needs and aspirations. Recognizing that ministers’ families are subject to the stress and demands placed on pastoral leaders, the program encourages pastors to involve their families in renewal activities. Congregational needs during the ministers’ renewal experience also are considered. Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used to fund interim pastoral leadership during the Renewal Program’s inception, more than 1,900 congregations have participated in the program, including the 140 congregations receiving grants in 2014.
“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, vice president for religion at the Endowment. “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.”
Dr. Robert Saler, research fellow and Director of the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs, part of the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological seminary in Indianapolis, noted that the National Clergy Renewal Program integrates key attributes of healthy congregations, including a mutual respect for the renewal needs of both ministers and the congregations they serve.
“The program provides an opportunity for congregations to express appreciation for their ministers’ service and leadership,” Saler said. “at a time when leaders are often praised for their pace of innovation and productivity , the National Clergy Renewal Program pays homage to the timeless wisdom embedded in the practice of reflection and renewal.