Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a grant of just under $8 million ($7,993,517) to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to continue the work of the Louisville Institute through 2018. Supported by Lilly since 1990, the Institute has been a national leader in the study of religion and support of pastors and church leaders in North America.
News of the grant was announced by Michael Jinkins, president of Louisville Seminary, and Terry Muck, executive director of the Louisville Institute.
“The Louisville Institute is known across the country for fostering and nurturing extraordinary research and inquiring into the issues at the heart of faith,” said Jinkins. “In recent years, it has expanded its mission to provide a formative experience for the next generation of theological educators. We are honored to partner with Lilly Endowment in the service of the church for the sake of God’s world.”
With this renewed support, the Institute will:
- Provide Fellowships in Theological Education to identify and support a new generation of well-prepared faculty for theological schools.
- Facilitate Collaborative Inquiry Teams that bring together cohorts of pastors and professors to address issues confronting the church.
- Award grants to support innovative research projects by both pastoral and academic leaders.
- Develop and implement a communication plan to share and interpret the Institute’s work more widely and strategically.
As part of its Vocation of the Theological Educator Initiative, the Louisville Institute offers three fellowship programs designed to support the preparation of theological faculty who engage in teaching and scholarship that serves the church and its ministries. With this initiative, the Louisville Institute addresses the need for a new generation of faculty that is prepared to respond to the questions and needs of communities of faith and their future leadership.
The Louisville Institute’s Collaborative Inquiry Team Program supports teams of four to six pastors and professors who propose projects to strengthen the life of North American Christian congregations. Each team spends three years exploring together a question of vital importance to the church.
The Louisville Institute offers grants to support research by scholar/pastors and scholar/educators that strengthen the religious life of North American Christians and their institutions while advancing 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.
“We are excited about continuing our work to provide financial and theological resources that enable theologically reflective pastors and ecclesially engaged theological educators to carry out crucial inquiry into the health and growth of North American Christianity,” said Muck. “Strengthening leadership for congregations and organizations requires equipping a cadre of theological educators who can provide pastors with excellent leadership and training.”
Muck added that developing and implementing an effective communication plan to disseminate information about the Institute’s work is critical. “Our new communication plan will incorporate efficient and effective use of both new media and traditional outreach mechanisms to share news about the extraordinary work of our scholars and pastors,” he said.
This is the eighth time in 24 years that the Lilly Endowment has awarded a grant to fund the Louisville Institute’s work.
“The Louisville Institute has long supported the efforts of religious leaders, academic-based scholars and theological educators to engage in research and writing that explores the hardest challenges facing Christian communities today,” said Christopher Coble, the Endowment’s vice president of religion. “We are delighted that the Institute will continue this important work.”