A philanthropic organization will provide grants to 10 churches in the greater DC area to pay their pastors to take sabbaticals from their congregations.
Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. announced Tuesday that it will provide grants of up to $ 50,000 per church as part of its national clergy renewal program.
“These grants provide an opportunity to celebrate pastors for their extraordinary service while allowing these men and women to step away from the demands of the congregation and invest in rest and renewal,” said Christopher L. Coble , vice president of the Lilly Endowment for religion. in a report.
The pastors of the DC region and their churches are:
- Reverend Robin Razzino of the Church of St. Clement of Alexandria.
- Reverend Donna Marsh of the District National Presbyterian Church.
- Reverend Bill Riedel of Redemption Hill Church in the district.
- Reverend Abby Thornton Hailey of Broadneck Baptist Church in Annapolis.
- Reverend Gray Maggiano of the Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore.
- Reverend Harry McQueen of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olney, Maryland.
- Reverend Gayle Annis-Forder of the Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church in Clarksville, Maryland.
- The Reverend Victor Hailey of St. Stephen’s-Severn Parish in Crownsville, Maryland.
- Reverend Dina van Klaveren of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Glenwood, Maryland.
- Reverend Dottie Yunger of the Solomons United Methodist Church in Solomons, Maryland.
The National Clergy Renewal Program is a 21-year effort of the foundation, whose grants are “designed to deepen and enrich the religious life of American Christians.” The philanthropic foundation was established in 1937 by pharmaceutical magnate JK Lilly and his sons Eli and JK Jr.
Mr McQueen said the grant would allow him to step away from his day-to-day responsibilities and renew his interest in photography, while also allowing the St. John’s Episcopal Church congregation to have an “alternate pastor” to serve. manage weekly preaching and visitation needs.
He said that “being able to afford that kind of sabbatical would not be part of a parish budget… It is an extraordinary expense that we just couldn’t imagine being able to supplement.”
Ms Razzino said her congregation at St. Clement’s Church will use the funding, in part, to tell about their struggles during the pandemic.
“We have been living in a COVID wilderness for 18 months”, she said. “And basically we have a story to tell of how God has been active in and through our ward during this time of the wilderness. It has been a difficult time and we want to be able to tell this story. “
To do this, the congregation will “go offsite” for a planning session and then work over the summer “to tell more stories through art,” Ms. Razzino said.
“We are going to bring in lay leaders, not members of the clergy, to come and work with them on biblical storytelling, but also on how to tell your own story and through an artistic medium,” she added. “We will have a lot of supplies for people to paint, glue or draw or draw on the story of life in nature and in the days of COVID.”