Local Pastor Recipient of Competitive Grant in 2013 National Clergy Renewal Program
Local Denver pastor honored with as recipient of competitive national grant allowing her to renew herself and her offering to her congregation.
Denver (I-Newswire) December 2, 2013 - House for All Sinners and Saints has received a grant of $39,000 to enable its Pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, to participate in the 2013 National Clergy Renewal Program funded by the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary. House for All Sinners and Saints is one of 87 congregations across the country selected to participate in this competitive grant program. Established by the Endowment in 2000, the program's grants allow 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 $50,000 to support a 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 minister's renewal experience also are considered. Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used to fund interim pastoral leadership during the pastor's retreat, as well as for renewal activities within the congregation. Since the National Clergy Renewal Program's inception, more that 1,800 congregations have participated in the program, including the 87 congregations receiving grants in 2013.
Rev. Bolz-Weber: "One of my intentions in this time of renewal is to immerse myself in culture, experiences and people outside of the church. However, so that I do not experience the cultural equivalent of The Bends, (a dangerous condition suffered by deep sea divers who surface too quickly), I thought I'd begin and end the time with activities directly related to my Christian faith."
Nadia will explore the Byzantine Christian sites in Turkey, followed by some exploring creative activities, including trapeze lessons that will capitalize on her recent CrossFit training. Nadia and her family will spend a month in the United Kingdom: "My goal for this month is simple; a chance for my family to experience me, and for us to experience each other, apart from the demands of my work as a parish pastor and a public theologian." As her sabbatical time ends, Nadia plans to spend seven days at a local monastery "focusing on holding my parishioners individually in prayer and contemplating what I've learned about myself and my faith during sabbatical."
From the congregation: "As we support Past Nadia's desire to renew her identity and creative edge, the congregation intends to do the same through sharpening our skills in creating liturgy and worship, upholding our value of being producers and not just consumers."
"Lilly Endowment intends for this program to enable pastors to live for a while at a different pace 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. Rev. 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 congregation 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."
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Published On:December 2, 2013
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