Reverend Dr. John E. Jackson Sr., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ-Gary and Reverend Dr. Teresa Smallwood of the Henry Luce Foundation of Vanderbilt Divinity School recently collaborated to offer a Mobile Institute for Clergy in Gary and vicinity.
The program on October 13 at the ArtHouse was attended by clergy persons in person, and virtually. Presenters from a variety of organizations invested with helping to fund ministry objectives beyond the walls of the church, enriching the lives of those in the community, spoke.
Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. spoke on the Proctor Conference outreach program called the Micah Institute and Fund which seeks to help reposition clergy, congregations and church leaders through financial literacy, and community economic development initiatives.
Reverend Brian Williams, program director in the religion division of the Lilly Endowment, Inc. highlighted Lilly’s initiatives to assist congregations financially, thereby allowing them to grow their ministries, through its Center of Congregations and Lilly’s financial outreach to pastors.
The initiatives enable clergy to take the needed sabbaticals for rest and reconnection, providing monetary resources for the church to operate in the pastor’s absence and covering expenses for the pastors’ extended renewal retreats.
Patrick Duggan, Executive Director of the Church Building Loan Fund and Reverend Susan Mitchell, Associate Director of the CB&LF shared the history of CB&FL efforts to provide financial packages for congregations to expand their ministries into the lives of the people ministry context.
The CB&LF rarely funds ministry efforts below a million dollars because they are encouraging a larger vision of the impact of the church. “You have heard people today state that they want to fund your vision and that you may never hear those words again in life,” said Trinity United Church of Christ’s Reverend Jackson.
“We have an enormous opportunity to take the ministry of the church to another level as we come out of the pandemic.”