146 U.S. Congregations awarded Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Grants

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 2016 program allows congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from ministerial duties and responsibilities. Pastors use the respite from congregational leadership for reflection and renewal, which often includes travel, scholarly research and immersive experiences with different cultures and traditions.

Congregations awarded the National Clergy Renewal Program grants nominated their pastors to receive this honor. Pastors in the 2016 program represent a diverse group that includes Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and nondenominational congregations. In consultation with their congregations, the pastors determine how they will use the grants to replenish, restore and renew their ministries. Travel to domestic and international destinations and journeys into nature are popular activities for grant recipients. One pastor will investigate the origins of the Reformation during the commemoration of its 500th anniversary, while another pastor will visit his ancestral land of Korea in order to consider how preaching there is affecting the growth of churches.

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.

Since Lilly Endowment introduced the National Clergy Renewal Program grants in 2000, more than 2,300 congregations across the nation have participated in the program. Congregations in the 2016 program received grants totaling more than $6 million. The grants recognize the tremendous amount of energy, time and leadership that pastors invest in their congregations.

“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, 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 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.”

Christian congregations were invited to apply for program 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 was selected in 2012 to administer the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs. “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. “We are honored and privileged to work with Lilly Endowment in its support of congregational leaders.”

Award Recipients:


Birmingham, AL – Tabernacle Baptist Church, the Rev. Christopher Hamlin

Fairhope, AL – Grace Church, Inc., the Rev. Milton Davis

Huntsville, AL – Central Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Randall Jenkins

Tuscaloosa, AL – Christ Episcopal Church, the Rev. Catherine Collier


Little Rock, AR – St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Mary Vano


Artesia, CA – Trinity Christian Reformed Church, the Rev. Erick Westra

Auburn, CA – Sierra Grace Fellowship, the Rev. Todd Cleek

Burbank, CA – Bethany Community Church, the Rev. Samuel Bang

Fullerton, CA – St. Andrew's Parish, the Rev. Beth Kelly

Irvine, CA – Irvine United Church of Christ, the Rev. Paul Tellstrom

Riverside, CA – First Congregational Church, the Rev. Hannah Cranbury

Sacramento, CA – St. John's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Frank Espegren

San Clemente, CA – The Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, the Rev. Jeffrey Frohner


Avon, CO – Eagle River Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Robert Wilson

Broomfield, CO – Church of the Holy Comforter, the Rev. Kimberly Seidman

Centennial, CO – St. Thomas More Catholic Parish, the Rev. Thomas Fryar

Denver, CO – Korean Christian Church Inc., the Rev. Byoung Song

Denver, CO – Saint Patrick Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Dudley Sunn


Newtown, CT – Newtown Congregational Church, UCC, the Rev. Matthew Crebbin

North Stonington, CT – Congregational Church of North Stonington, the Rev. Susan Latourette

Storrs Mansfield, CT – Storrs Congregational Church, Inc., UCC, the Rev. Matthew Emery

District of Columbia

Washington, D.C. – Lutheran Church of the Reformation, the Rev. Michael Wilker

Washington, D.C. – The Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Molly Blythe-Teichert

Washington, D. C. – The Georgetown Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Camille Murray


Haines City, FL – First Christian Church, the Rev. Gary West

Miami Lakes, FL – Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Rev. Joseph Lucas


Athens, GA – Redeemer Presbyterian Church, the Rev. William Farnsworth

Cartersville, GA – The Episcopal Church of the Ascension, the Rev. Mary Erickson

Cave Spring, GA – Cave Spring United Methodist Church, Inc., the Rev. John Page

LaGrange, GA – St. Mark's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Robert Pruitt

Rome, GA – Seven Hills Fellowship, Inc., the Rev. Bryan Pierce

Stone Mountain, GA – Victory for the World Church, Inc., the Rev. Kenneth Samuel


Ames, IA – First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Mary Button-Harrison

Blue Grass, IA – Blue Grass Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Mary Pugh

Central City, IA – The United Church of Christ, the Rev. Vicki Engelman

Des Moines, IA – New Hope UMC / Johnston River of Life / Hopkins Grove UMC, the Rev. Craig Ferguson

Orange City, IA – First Reformed Church, the Rev. Timothy Breen


Meridian, ID – Meridian Friends Church, the Rev. Kenneth Redford

Sandpoint, ID – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Andrew Kennaly


Elk Grove Village, IL – Palm Tree Wesleyan Church, the Rev. Sunju Chong

Glencoe, IL – Glencoe Union Church, the Rev. David Wood

Northfield, IL – The Episcopal Church of St. James the Less, the Rev. Lisa Senuta

Waukegan, IL – St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Jeffrey Koth


Garden City, KS – The United Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Denise Pass

Olathe, KS – Redemption Church, the Rev. Tim Suttle


Louisville, KY – Episcopal Church of the Advent, the Rev. Timothy Mitchell

Louisville, KY – Korea Saehan Church of Louisville, the Rev. Sanghun Kim

Nicholasville, KY – Providence Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Carol Devine


Baton Rouge, LA – University Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Patricia (Patti) Snyder


Lee, MA – First Congregational Church, UCC, the Rev. William Neil

Southborough, MA – St. Marks Episcopal Church, the Rev. Philip LaBelle


Baltimore, MD – Shiloh Baptist Church, the Rev. Heber Brown II

Bethesda, MD – Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, the Rev. David Gray

Glen Burnie, MD – Harundale Community Church Presbyterian, the Rev. Tracey Davenport


Boothbay Harbor, ME – St. Columba's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Maria Hoecker


Benton Harbor, MI – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Laurie Hartzell

Detroit, MI – Mack Avenue Community Church, Inc., the Rev. Leon Stevenson

Grand Rapids, MI – First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Robert Hundley

Grand Rapids, MI – The Branch Church of the Reformed Church in America, the Rev. Christopher DeBlaay

Grandville, MI – Trinity Christian Reformed Church, the Rev. Gerald Koning

South Haven, MI – The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, the Rev. Michael Ryan

Troy, MI – Lutheran Church of the Master, the Rev. Paul Walters

Waldron, MI – Salem Mennonite Church, the Rev. Deanna (Dee) Custar


Excelsior, MN – Trinity Episcopal Church, the Rev. Devon Anderson

Minneapolis, MN – Diamond Lake Lutheran Church, the Rev. Mark Orvick

Minneapolis, MN – First Congregational Church, UCC, the Rev. Jane McBride

Minnetonka, MN – St. David's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Katherine Lewis

Roseville, MN – Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, the Rev. Timothy Bernard

Stillwater, MN – Episcopal Church of the Ascension, the Rev. Holt Grace


Blue Springs, MO – First Blue Springs United Methodist Church, the Rev. Sarah (Salley) Haynes

Kirkwood, MO – Kirkwood United Church of Christ, the Rev. Betsy Happel

St. Louis, MO – New City Fellowship of St. Louis, the Rev. Kevin VandenBrink

St. Louis, MO – St. Peter's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Kelly Carlson

Washington, MO – Peace Lutheran Church, the Rev. Aimee Appell

Webster Groves, MO – First Congregational Church of Webster Groves, the Rev. David Denoon

North Carolina

Chapel Hill, NC – HillSong Church, A Baptist Fellowship of Chapel Hill, the Rev. Robert Tennant

Charlotte, NC – Christ the King Lutheran Church, the Rev. Steven Bollinger

Charlotte, NC – St. Peter's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Ollie Rencher

Charlotte, NC – The Church at Charlotte, the Rev. David Huber

Cornelius, NC – Northcross Church PCA, the Rev. Chip Robert Sneed

Efland, NC – Efland Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Cheryl Henry

Huntersville, NC – Hopewell Presbyterian Church PC (USA), the Rev. Allan Purtill, Jr.

Jamestown, NC – Friendly Hill Church, PCA, the Rev. Nathan Kline

Lillington, NC – Crossroads Church of Lillington, the Rev. Kenneth Dalton

Norwood, NC – Norwood First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Julie Hill

Raleigh, NC – Mount Moriah Baptist Church, the Rev. Michael Tolar

Wilmington, NC – First Baptist Church, the Rev. Matthew Cook

North Dakota

Kindred, ND – Kindred Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Andrew Schlecht


Lincoln, NE – St. Mark's on the Campus Episcopal Church, the Rev. Jerrold Thompson

Omaha, NE – West Hills Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Deena Candler

New Jersey

Jersey City, NJ – St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Jessica Lambert

Lawrenceville, NJ – Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Nina Reeder

Westwood, NJ – Parkside Community Church, the Rev. Rodney Haveman

New Mexico

Placitas, NM – Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Drew Henry

New York

Brooklyn, NY – Resurrection Williamsburg, the Rev. Thomas Aiuto

Buffalo, NY – Lafayette Street Church Society, the Rev. Andrew Ludwig

Cheektowaga, NY – ZionQuest Christian Fellowship, the Rev. Kimberly Gladden

Rochester, NY – Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Aileen Robbins

Scarsdale, NY – The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Greenville, the Rev. Edward Schreur

Schoharie, NY – Schoharie Reformed Church, the Rev. Sherri & Michael Meyer-Veen

Youngstown, NY – First Presbyterian Society of the Town of Porter, the Rev. Rex Stewart


Akron, OH – Lakeside Christian Church, Inc., the Rev. Petar Nenadov

Berlin Heights, OH – First Congregational United Church of Christ, the Rev. Casey Cain

Heath, OH – Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Kristin Santiago

Medina, OH – First Christian Church, the Rev. Laura Fitt-Baird

North Canton, OH – North Canton Faith United Methodist Church, the Rev. Steven Costello

Pepper Pike, OH – Garfield Memorial United Methodist Church, the Rev. Warren (Chip) Freed, Jr.


Tulsa, OK – St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Mary Ann Hill


Beaverton, OR – Mission of the Atonement, the Rev. Laurie Caesar

Eugene, OR – Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, the Rev. Brent Was

Lake Oswego, OR – Lake Oswego United Church of Christ, the Rev. Jennie Ott


Aliquippa, PA – House of Prayer Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Michael Sourwine

Ardmore, PA – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. James Hodsden

Easton, PA – Bridge Community Church of Easton, the Rev. Michael Hollenbach

Hanover, PA – Hanover Valley Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Robert Derreth

Phoenixville, PA – St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Cynthia Krommes

Pittsburgh, PA – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Thomas Hall

Stroudsburg, PA – Holy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church, the Rev. Nicholas Solak

Rhode Island

Charlestown, RI – St. Andrew Lutheran Church, the Rev. Lisa Hazelwood

South Carolina

Charleston, SC – The Independent or Congregational Church in Charleston, the Rev. Jeremy Rutledge

Moore, SC – Hub City Church, the Rev. Jonathan Everette

Spartanburg, SC – Saint John's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Michael Shackelford


Memphis, TN – Church of the Holy Spirit, the Rev. Michael Werkhoven


Conroe, TX – Tree of Life Lutheran Church, the Rev. Christopher Lake


Annandale, VA – St. Alban's Episcopal Church, the Rev. Jeffrey Shankles

Newport News, VA – Denbigh United Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Deborah Dail

Norfolk, VA – St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, the Rev. John Rohrs


Franklin, VT – Franklin United Church, the Rev. Jason McConnell


Bellingham, WA – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Douglas Bunnell

Bothell, WA – First Lutheran Church, the Rev. Tor Berg

Fox Island, WA – Fox Island United Church of Christ, the Rev. Janet Matthews

Mount Vernon, WA – Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Daniel Holland

Shoreline, WA – First Lutheran Church of Richmond Beach, the Rev. John Bjorge

Spokane Valley, WA – Advent Lutheran Church (ELCA), the Rev. Matthew Larson

Tacoma, WA – Immanuel Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Jennifer Rake-Marona


Brooklyn, WI – Brooklyn Lutheran Church, the Rev. Rebecca Ninke

Brown Deer, WI – Trinity Community Church, the Rev. Bill Flavin

Cedarburg, WI – Community United Methodist Church, the Rev. David Blackmer

Chippewa Falls, WI – Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Paul Oppedahl

Kenosha, WI – First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Lance Loveall

Madison, WI – Trinity Lutheran Church, the Rev. Susan Schneider

Mukwonago, WI – Vernon Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Mary ("Molly") Doreza

Plover, WI – Woodlands Church, the Rev. Brian Berg

Rio, WI – Bonnet Prairie Lutheran Church, the Rev. Joan Wittrock

Superior, WI –  Our Savior's Lutheran Church, the Rev. Sarah Kerkes

Verona, WI – Sugar River United Methodist Church, the Rev. Gary Holmes


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 www.lillyendowment.org.

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 eight graduate-level degree programs, including programs in theology, ministry, and counseling, with specializations in ministries that emphasize the arts and programs for lifelong learning. More than 30 denominations are represented among CTS faculty and students. Additional information about CTS is available at www.cts.edu.