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Preparing for the Future: Discussions around Renewal

At a recent Voter’s Assembly, the church elders presented a proposal for pursuing a grant from the Lilly Foundation. The National Clergy Renewal Program awards funding to congregations to provide sabbaticals to pastors while creating opportunities for the congregation to reflect on the success of their ministry. Renewal periods are an opportunity for pastors to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life and to engage in a period of renewal and reflection. It is not a vacation, but a time for intentional exploration and reflection. For drinking again from God’s life-giving waters. For regaining enthusiasm and creativity for ministry.

This grant process can also inspire us as a congregation to find new ways of preparing to become better at living our mission: Proclaiming Christ, Nurturing Faith and Serve Others in our community, as significant new populations continue to move into our area.

We are planning three open discussions aimed at capturing your ideas for the congregational support portions of the grant proposal and the time of preparation if the grant is awarded. These discussions will be held on Wednesdays March 1, 8 and 15, from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. before the Lenten evening service. Feel free to bring and enjoy your dinner if you’d like.

If you cannot attend one of these sessions, please make your ideas known to a member of the Grantwriting Task Force: Pastor Johnson, Marlo Schulz, Jon DeVries, Mark Knoblauch, and Dan Hendricksen. We look forward to talking with you. There is so much we have to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to, with God's grace!

You can find the grant materials on the Lilly Foundation website. Look for the RFP, but also the “Grace Notes” document under Additional Information.