Marquette has received a $1 million “Thriving in Ministry” grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., to help support Christian pastors in congregational ministry. The five-year grant will propel Marquette to both create and strengthen programs that support pastors by helping them connect strategically with other clergy who can serve as role models and mentors.
Marquette’s pastoral support program is called “Companions in Ministry.” In keeping with the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola – the founder of the Society of Jesus – the program recognizes that key relationships can help clergy to sustain themselves while leading others in faith. The program will develop small ecumenical affinity groups of clergy, including urban pastors, ordained women, internationally born pastors and those serving Hispanic congregations. The affinity groups will meet regularly for two years in conversations led by a specially trained peer pastor. The experience will begin and end with a two-day retreat. Affinity groups will meet together in a large group twice each year for prayer and education on topics suggested by the affinity groups.
Marquette received the largest “Thriving in Ministry” grant of its kind in Wisconsin and is one of 78 organizations located in 29 states that is taking part in the initiative. Lilly Endowment has made nearly $70 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry initiative. Grant recipients reflect diverse Christian traditions: mainline and evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox. 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.
Dr. Susan Mountin, director of “Pastoral Leadership in a Cultural Context” – another Lilly Endowment-funded initiative at Marquette – will oversee “Companions in Ministry.” Dr. Peg Flahive, director of human concerns at Church of the Gesu, will lead the project.