Lilly Endowment again offers pastor sabbatical grants

The Lilly Endowment Inc. once again is offering awards to congregations of up to $45,000 each to allow pastors to take a sabbatical — to go on what the organization calls “journeys of renewal and refreshment for creative ministry.”
More than 600 Christian congregations in the United States have received such awards in the five years they have been made by the Lilly Endowment.  The endowment last year announced 132 recipients from 23 church bodies in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
Interested pastors and their congregations plan the sabbatical together.  Up to $15,000 of each award may be used to provide “fill in” assistance with pastoral duties and for events and activities to foster congregational renewal.
The competitive grants program is open to Christian congregations in any state other than Indiana that are served by ordained pastors who hold an M.Div. degree from an accredited seminary.  The Endowment has a separate program for Indiana congregations.
Plans for renewal programs have been varied, according to the Endowment.  Among them, pastors have chosen to travel to religious sites, explore the history of their church bodies, connect with family members they have not seen in years, resume long-abandoned hobbies, write a book, live in another country, or take on other new challenges.
“What all these pastors have in common is that they have taken time to determine what will make their heart sing,” said Craig Dykstra, Endowment vice president for religion.  “Their congregations have signed on with excited encouragement.  It is a most beneficial program for all concerned.”
The deadline to apply for a 2005 grant is June 10.  Successful applicants will be notified in October.
Additional information and the application form is available online at  Click on “Religion,” and scroll down to the “National Clergy Renewal Program.”
For a hard copy of the brochure/application, write to Lilly Endowment, P.O. Box 88068, Indianapolis, IN 46208-0068.
Questions not answered on the Web site may be asked via e-mail to, or by calling (317) 916-7302.

Posted Jan. 28, 2005

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