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St. Thomas University receives $1 million to 'invest in pastors'

Lilly Endowment grant will fund 'Thriving in Ministry' leadership training, mentorship

MIAMI GARDENS – St. Thomas University has received a $1 million grant to help establish a unique program Investing in Pastors: Thriving in Ministry in South Florida.

It is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry, an initiative that supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges.  

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $70 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry initiative.

The STU Investing in Pastors Initiative will not only equip pastors with the resources and tools needed but also train pastors to utilize these resources and tools to enhance their community outreach, congregational growth, and ministerial practices. Pastors need these research-based strategies as they minister in South Florida. This is particularly true for new pastors who typically inherit ministries and churches that need to be revived or communities that need to be reconnected. 

“The School of Theology and Ministry at St. Thomas University in Miami looks forward to the opportunity of serving clergy of various faith traditions in their ongoing formation as ethical and spiritual leaders within the South Florida community,” said Msgr. Terence Hogan, STU’s vice president for mission. 

St. Thomas University is one of 78 organizations located in 29 states that is taking part in the initiative. The organizations reflect diverse Christian traditions: mainline and evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox.

Thriving in Ministry is part of Lilly Endowment’s grant-making to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States. This has been a grant-making priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years.

“Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “When pastors have opportunities to build meaningful relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to negotiate the challenges of ministry and their leadership thrives. These promising programs, including ‘Investing in Pastors: Thriving in Ministry in South Florida,’ will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”

Lilly Endowment Inc.is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family - J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. - through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment 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. Its grant-making in religion focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations throughout the country and to increase the public’s understanding of the role of religion in public life.

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