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Catawba College Receives $1 Million Grant to Support Clergy in Leadership Development

October 25, 2018

Category: Academics, Religion & Philosophy, Students

co-chapel.pngCatawba College has received a grant of $1 million to help establish the Catawba Clergy Network Program that will support clergy in leadership development. It is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry, an initiative that supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry.

Catawba College’s program will focus on college alumni who are members of the clergy in the United Church of Christ, as well as clergy from other denominations. The $1 million grant will be used during a five-year period, with $200,000 allocated each year for staffing dedicated to program development, workshop offerings, conference development and attendance costs, speakers, accommodations, and travel. Catawba College Chaplain and Senior Vice President the Reverend Dr. Kenneth Clapp believes Catawba’s planned program offerings will provide enrichment and growth opportunities for clergy who need targeted assistance in carrying out their managerial responsibilities as a leader of a church congregation.

KenClapp.jpg“Clergy depart divinity school well-versed in biblical studies, but often lacking in knowledge of how to raise funds for their churches, manage a congregational budget, or how to deal with modern issues facing congregants,” Clapp explained.  “I see Catawba’s program as a way to help our clergy grow as leaders of a congregation while assisting them in navigating their way through both the business and psychological sides of their work. Often new clergy have no funding for professional development and that’s where our program comes into play.  We will help create opportunities for clergy leadership development and hope to facilitate mentor relationships where seasoned clergy are tapped to help new clergy.”

Catawba College is one of 78 organizations located in 29 states that is taking part in the initiative. The organizations reflect diverse Christian traditions: mainline and evangelical, Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox.

Thriving in Ministry is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States. This has been a grantmaking priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years.

“Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “When pastors have opportunities to build meaningful relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to negotiate the challenges of ministry and their leadership thrives. These promising programs, including the Catawba Clergy Network Program, will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”


Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based 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 & 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. The Endowment maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its home state Indiana. Its grantmaking in religion focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations throughout the country and to increase the public’s understanding of the role of religion in public life.

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