The program works to strengthen Christian congregations by providing clergy with an opportunity to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life and engage in a period of renewal and reflection. Congregations may apply for an award of up to $45,000; up to one-third of that amount may be directed to congregational support during the pastor's absence. This year the average award is $39,965.
"Pastors write and preach sermons, make hospital visits, administer the business of their churches, preside at weddings and funerals, counsel parishioners, are active in denominational activities, and play important roles as community leaders," said Lilly Endowment senior vice president Craig Dykstra. "And they are expected to be available whenever they are needed. They usually are — often at both the best and worst times in people's lives. That's where this clergy renewal program steps in. It provides pastors the opportunity to work alongside their congregations to plan an intentional time away for rest and renewal that will fit their own unique interests and needs."
For a complete list of this year's recipients, visit the Lilly Endowment Web site.