Presbytery of Philadelphia is awarded a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

The grant will help the presbytery launch a new Expanding the Pulpit initiative

by Presbytery of Philadelphia | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out via Unsplash

The Presbytery of Philadelphia is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its Compelling Preaching Initiative.

According to a presbytery news release, the five-year grant will enable the presbytery to invest intentionally in increased energies and resources as part of its Ministry and Leadership Incubator to strengthen and equip congregations within the presbytery.

Under the grant, the presbytery will launch a new two-track initiative, Expanding the Pulpit, which will equip and train lay preachers as well as strengthen and bolster clergy currently preaching on a regular basis.

The Expanding the Pulpit initiative is designed not only to strengthen preaching among the presbytery’s smaller congregations but to create a pool of lay leaders who are trained by practitioners to serve smaller congregations across the presbytery that aren’t served by pastoral leadership.

After seminary, the presbytery news release noted, many pastors don’t have the time or opportunity to strengthen and adapt their preaching skills as their surroundings and the world change. “Technology and contemporary cultural challenges invite preachers into a new context which seems overwhelming and controversial,” the presbytery stated. “By creating a cohort of pastors equipped by known homileticians, we anticipate our participating clergy to find inspiration and renewal as they strengthen their voice in the pulpit.”

“Our hope,” the presbytery said, “is that this program will strengthen the impact of the gospel message as spoken from the pulpit throughout our churches and into our communities for the transformation of the world.”

In addition to the two-track, cohort-based initiative for lay preachers and clergy, there will be regular workshops and presentations open to the entire presbytery.

The Presbytery of Philadelphia is one of 81 organizations receiving grants through the competitive round of Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative.

“We are honored and grateful for the opportunity afforded to us as a presbytery to lean into this new day of preaching,” the presbytery said. “We look forward to the immediate development of this initiative in 2024. Stay tuned for more details as they emerge. Our commitment continues to find ways to support and strengthen the leaders serving our congregations and ministries throughout our presbytery.”

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation based in Indianapolis. The Endowment was created in 1937 by  J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons — Eli and J.K. Jr. — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and 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 our founders’ wishes, we support the causes of community developmenteducation and religion. We afford special emphasis to projects that benefit young people and that strengthen financial self-sufficiency in the charitable sector.

We fund significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, though we maintain a special commitment to our founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

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