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Louisville Seminary awarded grant to help gather best practices for passing along the Christian faith

Lilly Endowment grant will produce curriculum to help parents, caregivers share their faith

by Louisville Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has been awarded a $50,000 planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The focus of the grant is gathering best practices for passing the Christian faith of parents and caregivers to their children.

Louisville Seminary was approached for this grant largely because of the work of Dr. Brad Wigger, whose many years of focusing his research on children and faith caught Lilly’s attention.

To inform this practice, best practices will be gathered from faculty, children and family therapists, pastors and other religious leaders who work directly with children. This information will be used to develop curriculum to be used to equip parents and caregivers with informed approaches about how to share their faith with their children.

Dr. Brad Wigger

The Lilly Endowment defines faith practices very broadly to include practices such as worship, prayer, meditation and Bible study, as well as social justice advocacy in many forms. Lilly is also committed to including practices of parents and caregivers of many different races, ethnicities, ages, social classes, gender identities and sexual orientations.

Louisville Seminary alumnae Alicia Demartra-Pressley will serve as project leader for the grant. She will work throughout the summer to gather best practices through interviews and focus groups as well as the review of current scholarship. She’ll also convene a 10-member advisory committee of therapists, pastors and Christian educators to inform her work.

Dr. Loren Townsend, Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling and the director of LPTS’ Marriage and Family Therapy Program, said, “There is no task as important as parenting — a task increasingly difficult in our complex world. The Christian Parenting and Caregiving program describes a multi-disciplinary, multi-systemic program to help parents develop skills to pass time-honored, sustaining faith practices to present and future generations. The program is unique in its breadth, depth and attention to best practices and diversity in Christian education.”

“We were delighted to receive an invitation from Lilly to apply for this planning grant,” said Dean Debra J. Mumford. “We are fortunate to have faculty colleagues such as Dr. Brad Wigger, Dr. Lesley Earles and Dr. Loren Townsend, along with the knowledge and experiences of many Louisville Seminary alumni and friends, to help parents and caregivers share their faith practices with their children.”

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 to further its founders’ commitment to community development, education and religion. Its grantmaking in religion focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations throughout the country and increase the public’s understanding of the role of religion in American life.

About Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Founded in 1853, Louisville Seminary offers an inclusive and diverse learning community, welcoming students from wide ecumenical backgrounds while maintaining its long, historic commitment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Louisville Seminary is committed to building bridges across the world’s religious, racial and cultural divides. It is distinguished by its nationally-recognized marriage and family therapy and field education programs, the scholarship and church service among its faculty and a commitment to training women and men to participate in the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ. For more information, call (800) 264-1839 or log onto

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