Lilly Endowment provides lead gift for CTS Fund for the Future
(October 14, 2010, Indianapolis, IN) – Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) has received a grant of $1,181,500 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to develop creative new approaches for educating pastors, ministers and counselors, according to David Herzog, Chairman of CTS’s Board of Trustees.
The grant comes at an important time in the school’s life and during a time when much is changing for denominational seminaries like CTS. It also comes as the seminary searches for a new president and celebrates the ministry of retiring President Edward L. Wheeler.
"The changing demographics of congregational life, the increasing complexity of pastoral ministry and the emergence of new technologies are changing theological education," stated Herzog. "Lilly Endowment’s gift to CTS will enable us to build upon our current capabilities and explore new strategies to address these realities."
One million dollars of the grant will serve as a lead gift for the CTS Fund for the Future providing the seminary with resources to develop and implement programs designed to send into the community a sizable and steady stream of excellent pastors who will lead, minister to and sustain thriving congregations.
"Our charge is to engage in a serious re-thinking of what it takes to prepare men and women to be excellent pastors of congregations in a rapidly changing ecclesial and cultural environment," said Herzog. "This will require us to collaborate in new ways with congregations to attract the most promising students to produce pastors, ministers and counselors with the skills required to address new and yet unknown challenges."
The remaining $181,000 will fund the presidential transition at CTS. Earlier this year, President Edward L. Wheeler announced his intention to retire effective June 30, 2012. Herzog stated that Wheeler will be named president emeritus June 30, 2011, after 14 years of leadership. CTS hopes to name a new president in time to begin serving as of July 1, 2011. In the final year of service to CTS, Wheeler will serve as a resource to the new president.
"The generous grant from Lilly Endowment will allow CTS to build upon our strong history as a leader in post-graduate theological education and enhance our legacy of ministerial preparation," stated Wheeler.
According to Dr. Craig Dykstra, senior vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment, CTS is poised to make good use of the grant. "Talented faculty and staff, a sizable endowment, beautiful facilities and a diverse student body all place CTS in an excellent position to make promising new strategic moves that will extend its important role in strengthening religious life in Indiana and throughout the country," he said.
CTS is related to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and is one of the most diverse congregational leadership centers in the nation. It is a fully accredited, ecumenical seminary with a student and alumni base representing nearly 40 different denominational and faith communities.
In addition to offering eight graduate-level degree programs, CTS provides dozens of classes annually through its Lifelong Theological Education and Faith Learning Initiative series. It also offers comprehensive counseling services to the community through its Counseling Center.
CTS has a rich history of offering the finest biblical and theological education in a caring, supportive environment.