$1M Grant Helps Westmont Support Pastors

The cross near the Rose Garden below the Santa Barbara Mission

The cross near the Rose Garden below the Santa Barbara Mission

Westmont has received a $1 million grant to help establish Frontiers, offering opportunities for retreat, mentoring, intellectual and social engagement, and spiritual discernment to pastors just starting out in ministry or undergoing significant professional changes.

The grant 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. Lilly Endowment is making nearly $70 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry initiative.

Westmont’s Voskuyl Prayer Chapel

The first dimension, New Frontiers, serves pastors during the first years of their professional lives. It seeks to widen their vision for their work and strengthen their commitment to the calling of ministry. The program will be led by Westmont’s Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts.  The second, Next Frontiers, focuses on mid-career pastors who seek renewal and wisdom as they consider new possibilities for service, whether in new or current positions. This program will be guided by Westmont’s Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture.  Both dimensions of Frontiers offer inspiration and resources that will sustain ministers in the long obedience of their profession. For more information, please email frontiers@westmont.edu.

A stained glass image of Christ inside the Voskuyl Prayer Chapel

A stained glass image of Christ inside the Voskuyl Prayer Chapel

“We share Lilly Endowment’s concern that, while the life of ministry is a crucial calling, pastors face a unique set of pressures as they seek meaning and balance in their professional, spiritual and personal lives,” says Westmont President Gayle D. Beebe. “We’re grateful for the chance to join with the Endowment in the work of addressing the challenges of ministry, extending the college’s resources to provide deep relationship, intellectual enrichment, and spiritual refreshment to pastors in transition.”

Westmont is one of 78 organizations located in 29 states 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 Westmont’s Frontiers, will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”

The Santa Barbara Wharf at sunrise

The Santa Barbara Wharf at sunrise

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.