The Missouri United Methodist Foundation has received a grant of $1,000,000 as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. The initiative supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they address the financial and economic challenges that can impair the ability of pastors to lead congregations effectively.
The Endowment is giving $28 million in grants through this initiative. The grants are part of the Endowment’s commitment to supporting the pastoral leadership development of clergy serving in congregations across the United States.
As the statewide charitable foundation for the United Methodist Church, the Missouri UM Foundation already provides scholarships for seminary students. “The Lilly funding will allow us to address a much broader range of clergy financial issues ranging from student debt to financial literacy and retirement,” states Foundation executive director David Atkins.
“We want our pastors to succeed in fruitful service to others,” says Atkins. “This project will bring more resources and support to that ongoing priority.”
The Missouri United Methodist Foundation is one of 27 organizations taking part in the initiative, which represents a variety of Christian traditions, including Baptist, Catholic, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of God (Anderson), Episcopal, Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed and Wesleyan churches, as well as non-denominational, and historic African-American Christian communities. They include denominational pension and benefits boards; local and regional denomination judicatories, such as synods and dioceses; and denominational foundations.
Each program is customized to the needs of pastoral leaders in each religious tradition, but the programs have much in common as they: