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Grants totalling $93 million will help 92 churches strengthen bonds

Lilly Endowment has awarded 92 grants to strengthen Christian congregations so they can help people deepen their relationships with God, build strong relationships with each other and contribute to the flourishing of local communities and the world.

The grants totaling nearly $93 million were made through the endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. Taken together, organizations receiving the funds will be able to work directly during the next three to five years with thousands of congregations across the United States. The programs will help congregations gain clarity about their values and missions, explore and understand better the communities in which they serve, and draw upon their theological traditions as they adapt ministries to meet changing needs.

“In the midst of a rapidly changing world, Christian congregations are grappling with how they can best carry forward their ministries,” said Christopher Coble, the endowment’s vice president for religion. “These grants will help congregations assess their ministries and draw on practices in their theological traditions to address new challenges and better nurture the spiritual vitality of the people they serve.”

The 92 organizations include colleges and universities, theological schools, denominational agencies, individual congregations and other faith-based organizations. They represent and serve churches in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, including Anabaptist, Baptist, Episcopal, evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, Restoration, Roman Catholic and Orthodox, as well as congregations that describe themselves as nondenominational. Several organizations serve congregations in black, Hispanic and Asian-American traditions.

The 92 grants will support a wide variety of programs that will convene groups of congregations in supportive learning communities to collaborate and share insights as they design and launch new ministries. The endowment launched the Thriving Congregations Initiative in 2019 as part of its commitment to support efforts that enhance the vitality of Christian congregations.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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