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$1 million grant will help renew the 67 congregations in the Presbytery of Cincinnati

Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will also help the presbytery expand its Matthew 25 teams

by Presbytery of Cincinnati | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Commissioned Ruling Elder Lisa Allgood is executive presbyter for the Presbytery of Cincinnati. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — The Presbytery of Cincinnati has received a grant of $997,412.00 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish the Living Churches Initiative under the presbytery’s newly-formed Center for Learning.

The program is funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is 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 Presbytery of Cincinnati serves 67 congregations in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana. The grant enables the presbytery to create, design and implement new approaches to congregational renewal, leadership development and strategic engagement with the goal of increasing the vitality, relevance and effectiveness of its witness.

“From some preliminary work we’ve completed, we have seen the beauty in bringing together our pastors and leaders from our congregations to reflect, dream and learn together,” said Lisa Allgood, executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Cincinnati. “We are excited to expand this across the boundaries of our presbytery — even into other presbyteries as we create and lean in to becoming a true learning community in the service of the kingdom.”

Allgood said the grant will also help the presbytery expand its Matthew 25 teams and its educational outreach.

The Presbytery of Cincinnati is one of 92 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent and serve churches in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, including Anabaptist, Baptist, Episcopal, evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 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.

“In the midst of a rapidly changing world, Christian congregations are grappling with how they can best carry forward their ministries,” said Christopher Coble, Lilly 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.”

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $93 million in grants through the initiative. The grants will support organizations as they work directly with congregations and help them 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.

Lilly Endowment launched the Thriving Congregations Initiative in 2019 as part of its commitment to support efforts that enhance the vitality of Christian congregations.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a 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 exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s grantmaking in religion 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 their pastoral and lay leadership.

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