Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) Office of Formation and Leadership Development (OFLD) received a grant of $418,135 USD in October of 2018 as part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry initiative.
OFLD’s plan is to support MCC pastors in the formation of vital vocations of ministry through the development of collegial relationships with other ministers – MCC as well as ecumenical partners – who can serve as intentional mentors and collegial support systems. MCC will focus on pastors at key times of transition in their ministerial careers such as those in first-call situations, those who are moving to new calls, transitioning from staff to senior leadership, or those transitioning to bi-vocational ministry.
Plans are being developed for two mentoring retreats in 2019. The OFLD will be sending out surveys soon to gather information from our clergy and pastoral leaders to help with the planning of these retreats.
Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West, Director of the OFLD, said, “I firmly believe this generous grant from Lilly Endowment has the capacity to strengthen and change every pastor in our denomination who is going through a vocational transition in their ministry. Congregations led by those pastors will also thrive in ministry because of the support pastors will receive through this grant.”
Christopher L Coble, Lilly Endowment’s Vice President for religion states: “Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding, “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 the OFLD/MCC program, will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”
Built into the grant is funding for a part-time Program Manager who will coordinate a series of retreats, webinars, and meetings over a period of five years for MCC clergy in vocational transition and their mentors as well and offer ongoing support through clergy Communities of Practice. A Program Manager has been selected to begin the steps to meet the criteria in which this grant was received. Marie Tasker is our newly contracted Program Manager and can be reached at [email protected]. Marie comes to us with a wealth of experience in lay leadership with MCC, a wealth of training experience and a master’s degree in organizational management.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based philanthropic foundation created in 1027 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 the 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.