Sustaining Pastoral Excellence
The Endowment is convinced that many congregations in the nation, in a variety of settings and within a multiplicity of faith traditions, are being served by excellent pastoral leaders. These leaders and the work they do are of inestimable value. The quality of pastoral leadership is key to vital congregational life. When churches and parishes are led by spiritually strong, thoughtful, able and imaginative pastors, congregations tend to thrive.
The Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Program enables a broad spectrum of institutions from a wide variety of denominations in many geographical regions to honor and support pastoral leaders. Most projects place resources in the hands of pastors themselves to engage in peer learning groups. These groups provide opportunities for intellectual, vocational, spiritual, physical and emotional support, education and encouragement. Pastoral leaders study the Bible and theology, practice spiritual disciplines, build pastoral skills and participate in retreats, much-deserved relaxation and/or renewing travel. In these projects, they are encouraged and enabled to design and implement programs that will help them sustain pastoral excellence over the long haul.
In 2002 the Endowment received more than 700 proposals in response to its Request for Proposals in this program. Sixty-three projects have been funded in amounts ranging from $250,000 to $2 million for a total of $84 million. Applications to the program are no longer being received. However, Duke Divinity School and its Pulpit & Pew Project is the host for the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Coordination Program that will garner insight from these projects to share with wider church audiences.
The program director for this grant program is John Wimmer, 317/916-7359.
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