January 4, 2023
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has received a grant of $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help support and equip Disciples for the task of preaching the good news.
The program, preliminarily called The Proclamation Project, will kick off in January with a virtual preaching workshop and a sermon series resource for preachers to use in preparation for next summer’s General Assembly. As the program takes shape, it will grow to include a resource library with new and curated preaching materials, support for preachers in bi-vocational settings, cohort groups, and learning opportunities for Disciples preachers.
“I am thrilled that we will be able to offer this level of support to preachers in local congregations,” said Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President. “We know that preachers are hungry for resources they can trust, hungry for connection with other preachers, hungry to hear good preaching themselves. We understand that proclamation is not a discrete task but is intricately tied to the whole of ministry: from the prophetic to the pastoral to the educational. As we continue to imagine new ways of being church, the Proclamation Project will help Disciples offer the authentic, Spirit-filled preaching the world needs.”
The Office of the General Minister and President will be developing a team to lead this effort, which will provide support and resources for preachers from the diverse communities that make up the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The program was designed by a planning committee that included Rev. Lee Hull Moses, Vice President and Chief of Staff in the OGMP; Rev. Rogelio Martinez, pastor of Casa de Oracion de Fullerton and Iglesia Nueva Vida; Rebecca Anderson, co-pastor of Gilead Church Chicago; and Rev. Bill Lee, former moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The Proclamation Project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is one of 32 organizations receiving funding in an invitational round of grants for the initiative, which is designed to help Christian pastors strengthen their abilities to proclaim the gospel in more engaging and effective ways.
“We are excited about the work that these organizations will do to foster and support preaching that better inspires, encourages and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Their programs will serve a significant number of aspiring and current preachers who are working to reach and engage increasingly diverse audiences both within and beyond congregations.”
The Compelling Preaching Initiative is part of the Endowment’s longstanding interest in supporting projects that help to nurture the religious lives of individuals and families and foster the growth and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States.
About Lilly Endowment
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. In addition, the Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.