Renewal Blog

  • Connecting and conversing

    Mar 05, 2014 | Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs

    By congregation members from University Congregational United Church of Christ, Seattle, WA | This ‘Two Flocks’ sabbatical was designed to help the members of this urban congregation deepen their sense of connection with the earth. This included opportunities for interaction with rural communities, invitations to engage in reflection while they traveled during the summer, and specific sermons and church activities that had a ‘sacred earth’ component.

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  • Jazzing things up

    Feb 19, 2014 | Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs

    By congregation members from First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lincoln, NE | What was the impact of the renewal program? “Inclusivity was a top priority. Worship and activities were designed to involve people of all ages and learning styles. Pastor Maas led a study of Practice Resurrection during February and March 2011. A Travel Guide of sabbatical worship opportunities and events was distributed on May 22.

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  • Trust the process

    Feb 05, 2014 | Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs

    By Callie J. Smith | A 2011 report by the Louisville Institute (LI) upon the conclusion of its sabbatical grants for pastoral leaders program (2006-2011) offers impressive statistics: “80% of congregational representatives affirmed that the LI-funded sabbatical had strengthened the pastor's commitment to his or her parish” and “75% reported that the sabbatical had tangibly benefited the life of the church.”

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  • The application process: A value in itself

    Jan 22, 2014 | Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs

    By Robert C. Saler | Since becoming director of the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs at Christian Theological Seminary, I have been struck by the number of applicants who have told me—without any prompting—that one of the most valuable aspects of the program was the congregation’s process in discerning whether to submit an application, as well as the process of actually crafting the application once the decision was made to submit one.

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  • Strengthening congregations

    Jan 08, 2014 | Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs

    By Callie J. Smith | This past fall, the Huffington Post featured a striking article by Beth Sirull. This article explores the concept of sabbatical leaves for nonprofit leaders, describing them as beneficial for not only the leaders but also for the organizations and communities they serve. This connection between the well-being of leaders and that of their communities warrants the attention of faith communities, as well.

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