Four United Methodists awarded

INDIANAPOLIS – Twenty-two congregations, including four United Methodist churches, from 12 Indiana counties have received grants to enable their ministers to participate in the 2012 Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. The program – now in its 14th year – allows pastors to step back from their busy schedules and renew their spirits for challenges ahead.

This year’s United Methodist recipients include:

  • Broadway UMC of Indianapolis and the Rev. Rachel A. Metheny,
  • Carmel UMC and the Rev. Patricia Napier Payntor,
  • Delphi UMC and the Rev. Todd G. Ladd and
  • St. Luke’s UMC of Indianapolis and the Rev. Marion J. Miller.

The Endowment invites congregations and ministers to consider and plan a period of “intentional reflection and renewal.” It is a time for these ministers to take a break from their daily obligations and gain the fresh perspective and renewed energy that a carefully considered “sabbath time” of travel, study, rest and prayer can offer.

It is no surprise that many will head for points around the globe, from Hawaii to Ethiopia. Some will head to Europe for study and pilgrimages to Reformation sites in England, Scotland, France and Germany. Others will travel to places of Christianity’s first days in Rome, Greece, Turkey and the Holy Land. Clergy renewal grantees selected a variety of areas for self-improvement and how-to programs.

Read where our United Methodist recipients will be going during their renewals in the accompanying story.

The Endowment’s larger goal is to bolster the good work that America’s pastors and congregations accomplish day-in and day-out, to reinforce and build upon the important work being done on both sides of the pulpit.

“In our religion grant-making, we hope to strengthen the efforts of today’s excellent pastors, because it is no secret that pastors who have reconnected themselves to the passions that led them to the ministry in the first place are more likely to lead healthy and vibrant congregations,” said Craig Dykstra, senior vice president for religion at the Endowment.

Indiana congregations were invited to apply for a grant of up to $50,000. Up to $15,000 of that amount could be used to fulfill pastoral duties during the minister’s absence and for expenses related to the congregation’s own renewal. The 22 grants this year totaled nearly $997,000. The average grant amount was slightly over $45,300. Since the program began in 1999, 404 renewal grants have been awarded to Indiana congregations.

The renewal program will continue next year to benefit more Indiana congregations and their pastors. Interested persons should check Lilly Endowment’s website ( early this fall for information about how to apply.

Gretchen Wolfram serves as a communicator at the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis.

“In our religion grant-making, we hope to strengthen the efforts of today’s excellent pastors…”

– Craig Dykstra