The Indiana e-Christian

News and information from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana

Oak Grove Church Receives Clergy Renewal Grant

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Oak Grove Christian Church in Monticello is one of 27 Indiana congregations that have received grants to enable their ministers to participate in the 2010 Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. The program, now in its 12th year, allows pastors to step back from their busy lives and renew their spirits for challenges ahead.

The Endowment invites congregations and ministers to consider and plan a period of “intentional reflection and renewal.” It provides a time for ministers to take a break from their daily obligations and gain the fresh perspective and renewed energy that a carefully considered sabbath time of travel, study, rest and prayer can provide.

A time away from their busy lives gives pastors a chance for private times of reflection and reading. It also allows real family time together, far from the hectic lives at home. Not surprising, many take the opportunity to travel. Seven pastors will enjoy Italy, and five plan pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Others will visit family, missionaries and mission programs in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Georgia, Great Britain, Korea, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia.

“We ask these congregations and ministers to consider the question, ‘What will make your heart sing?’, as they devise their plans,” said Craig Dykstra, senior vice president for religion at the Endowment. “They never fail to come up with wonderful and imaginative yet doable ways to fulfill their dreams. Their time away has freed them up to pursue personal interests and needs in ways that have given them new energy for ministry — and the congregations have discovered that they too experience a refreshment of their own and a newfound sense of their own strengths.”

Indiana congregations were invited to apply for a grant of up to $50,000. Up to $15,000 of that amount could be used to fulfill pastoral duties during the minister’s absence and for expenses related to the congregation’s own renewal. The 27 grants this year totaled $1.25 million.

These Indiana congregations represent 20 cities and towns and 18 counties. Eighteen have fewer than 400 persons at worship (the smallest is 50), six have between 400 and 800, while three have regular worship attendance of more than 1,000 (the largest is 2,500). The oldest and the newest are in Indianapolis: Roberts Park United Methodist Church (1821) and Trinity Church (2003).

Since the program began in 1999, 363 renewal grants have been awarded to Indiana congregations. The renewal program will continue next year to benefit even more Indiana congregations and their pastors. Application information for the 2011 program will be available at indianaclergyrenewal.org by the middle of August.

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Written by ccindiananews

August 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm

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