Ashland Theological Seminary Receives Award from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Fund Thriving in Ministry Initiative

Ashland Theological Seminary Receives Award from Lilly Endowment Inc. to Fund Thriving in Ministry Initiative

3/7/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland Theological Seminary (ATS) has received a grant totaling $993,514 as part of the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry Initiative.

The initiative 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 role models and mentors to guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry. The Endowment is providing more than $20 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry Initiative.

This grant will support the ATS Thriving Church Ministries certificate program that was developed with the purpose of improving the Seminary’s ability to create opportunities and conditions for pastors to thrive by facilitating development of leadership competencies, collegiality bonds, and capacity for healthy self-and family-care practices.

The focus of the program is to identify new, assistant, associate, early career, and co-pastors in pastoral ministries to provide them with opportunities for exploration and discovery through experiential learning. Participants will be guided through peer education, mentoring, and opportunities to form collegial bonds with peers to help them develop and transform personal and ministry practices to thrive.

Dr. Mark Harden, president of ATS, said, "We appreciate the consideration and confidence that the Lilly Endowment is placing in this program. We look forward to the opportunity to create conditions and opportunities for pastors to gain insight for addressing common challenges and developing well-balanced lives while leading their congregations.”

Ashland Theological Seminary is one of 24 organizations taking part in the initiative. These organizations represent diverse Christian communities, including Baptist, Brethren, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Episcopal, evangelical, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Quaker organizations, as well as interdenominational and non-denominational organizations.

The Thriving in Ministry Initiative is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking to strengthen pastor leadership in Christian congregations in the United States, and it has been a priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years.
Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion, said, “Our hope is that this grant to Ashland Theological Seminary will support a new wave of efforts that help clergy thrive and lead their congregations more effectively.”

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 J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

Ashland Theological Seminary is a graduate division of Ashland University. With campuses in Ashland, Detroit, Cleveland and Columbus, Ashland Theological Seminary integrates theological education with Christ-centered transformation as it equips men and women for ministry in the church and the world.  ###