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Board of Pensions receives Lilly grant to expand Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations

$1M grant will help grow a 2016 pilot program into a national one

by The Board of Pensions of the PC(USA) | Special to Presbyterian News Service

PHILADELPHIA — The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., enabling the expansion of Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations into a program of national scope and impact.

The Board of Pensions initiated Healthy Pastors in 2016 as a pilot in North Carolina with an initial $1 million Lilly Endowment grant. Both grants are part of Lilly Endowment’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. The initiative supports religious organizations throughout the United States as they address the financial struggles that can impair the ability of ministers to effectively lead congregations.

“The well-being of our ministers affects the vitality of our congregations,” said President Frank C. Spencer of the Board of Pensions. “We know that debt, especially educational debt, is a source of worry for ministers and a very real encumbrance to their ministry. If we can help relieve these concerns, they may devote their best gifts and energies to guiding congregations on the journey of faith.”

Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations brings together a church’s minister and congregational leadership to work toward financial sustainability by providing financial education and consultations to both. A minister who completes the program with his or her congregation’s leaders may be eligible to receive professional financial planning and a grant of up to $10,000 for debt reduction or retirement savings.

The Board of Pensions embodies the PC(USA) commitment to care for its clergy. It designs and administers benefits and assistance to support spiritual, health, financial, and vocational well-being. Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations is an extension of that. It will strengthen the work of the Church by helping its ministers and congregations address the financial concerns that keep both from a rich religious life.

 About the Board of Pensions

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a connectional church. The Board of Pensions, as one of six agencies of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), fulfills a unique role in the community by upholding the commitment made by congregations to care for installed pastors and provide ways for churches and other Presbyterian-affiliated employers to care for ministers and employees. The Board administers the church Benefits Plan, which includes a pension, death and disability benefits, medical coverage, and a retirement savings plan. In addition, the Board maintains a financial Assistance Program and education programs for its members.

 About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a 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 and 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 and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

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