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Louisville Institute Receives Additional $2.5 Million from Lilly Endowment

by Chris Wooton | Dec 04, 2017

Funding now exceeds $10 million to advance work with North American pastoral leaders, theological educators, religion scholars, seminaries and churches.

Lilly Endowment IncLilly Endowment Inc. has awarded an additional grant of $2.5 million to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to continue the work of the Louisville Institute through 2021. Supported by the Endowment since 1990, the Louisville Institute is a national leader in the study of religion and support of pastors and church leaders in North America. In September, Lilly Endowment awarded the Louisville Institute a $7,999,954 grant to support its programs.

“We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for this added endorsement of the work of the Louisville Institute,” said Louisville Institute Executive Director Edwin Aponte. “These funds will enable the Institute to expand its support of ecclesially-engaged scholars researching all different aspects of North American Christianity, and pastoral leaders exploring the future of contextual ministry, as well as contributing to the re-visioning of theological education in a changing society.”

With this renewed support, Louisville Institute will:

• Provide fellowships in theological education to identify and support a new generation of exceptionally well-prepared faculty for theological schools;

• Bring together and engage cohorts of pastors and professors to address issues confronting the church; and

• Award grants to pastors and academic leaders to support their innovative research projects.

“The Louisville Institute fulfills a distinctive and unique mission,” said Louisville Seminary President Michael Jinkins, who also chairs the Louisville Institute Board of Directors. “It makes possible research and study into the most crucial issues facing North American congregations today. It supports pastors in addressing the kinds of questions that keep them up at night. And it engenders new generations of scholarship for the sake of the church. We are grateful for the vision and support of Lilly Endowment for making this mission possible.”

Louisville InstituteThrough its Vocation of the Theological Educator Initiative, the Louisville Institute addresses the need for a new generation of theological faculty that is prepared to respond to the questions and needs of communities of faith and their future leadership. The Institute’s fellowship programs are designed to prepare faculty in multiple settings so their teaching and scholarship can serve the church and its ministries.

The Louisville Institute’s Collaborative Inquiry Team program supports groups of four to eight pastors and professors who propose projects that examine inherent challenges facing Christian congregations. Teams spend 18 to 36 months exploring together a challenge currently confronting church and society.

The Louisville Institute offers grants to support research by pastor/scholars and scholar/educators that strengthen the religious life of North American Christians and their institutions while advancing North American religious and theological scholarship. These grant programs aim to serve three strategic constituencies whose competence and well-being are essential to the future of the church: pastors, younger scholars, and researchers and scholars for the broader church.

Under this grant, the Louisville Institute will launch a new iteration of the Pastors Working Groups. This second wave will engage small groups to inquire about the changing contexts of ministry and will be activated around compelling questions about the future of ministry. They include: What are the new ways people congregate and form faith communities? How can ministers connect with and learn from emerging non-denominational approaches to ministry? What can the ministry experiences of those working in and with historically marginalized groups and immigrant communities teach the greater Christian community?


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