Lilly offers grants for pastors` sabbaticals

This year marks the eighth year that Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. is offering grants to support pastors’ sabbaticals.

Lilly announced last fall that for 2007, as many as 120 grants of up to $45,000 apiece will be available through its National Clergy Renewal Program.  (Click here for related story.)

The program is open to Christian congregations served by a pastor with a master of divinity degree from an accredited theological seminary.

For a grant brochure and application, call Lilly Endowment Inc. at (317) 916-7350; go to its Web site at; send an e-mail to; or write Lilly Endowment Inc., 2801 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208.  Deadline for proposals is May 15.

Also on the Web site are two documents that a Lilly news release notes “may be helpful” to grant applicants.  They are titled “What Makes a High-Quality Proposal?” and “Grace Notes.”  The brochure and Web site also suggest other reading material.

Since the program began, Lilly has awarded more than 850 National Clergy Renewal Program grants.

Referring to sabbaticals, Craig Dykstra, Lilly Endowment senior vice president for religion, said, “Pastors and congregations both benefit from this period of renewal.

“[Pastors] are given a rare chance to get away from the demands of daily parish ministry and explore ‘what makes their heart sing.’  The renewal of a pastor’s heart and spirituality is part of his or her ‘job description’ and is essential to the spiritual quality of a congregation’s life.”

Dykstra said that “completing the application requires a joint effort of the pastor and the congregation. … The process takes some time.  It involves intentional and purposeful discussion between the congregation and the pastor.

“We have found, however, that — even among congregations that did not receive the grants — the application process itself helped [pastors and congregations] focus on issues such as effective leadership [and] the future direction of the congregation.”

For more information, including a free packet about sabbaticals, contact the Synod’s Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support via e-mail at or go to the commission’s Web site at and click on “Resources for Pastors.”

Posted Dec. 28, 2006

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