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Hood to Establish the Congregational Faith and Learning Center
Hood Theological Seminary has received a grant of $1million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish the Congregational Faith and Learning Center at Hood Theological Seminary.
The program is funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is to strengthen Christian congregations so they can help people deepen their relationships with God, build strong relationships with each other and contribute to the flourishing of local communities and the world.
Lilly Endowment is making nearly $93 million in grants through the initiative. The grants will support organizations as they work directly with congregations and help them gain clarity about their values and missions, explore and understand better the communities in which they serve, and draw upon their theological traditions as they adapt ministries to meet changing needs.
The Congregational Faith and Learning Center at Hood Theological Seminary (HTS) will provide training and faith engagement directly to congregations in the community by being a place to "educate, empower, and equip" congregations. Today, congregations and churches are dealing with changes in spiritual discipleship, church attendance, age demographic concerns, cultural changes, social media growth, technology advances, immigration issues, just to note a few. The Center's focus will include improving congregations in three key areas: congregational internal stability, congregational external relationship engagement and congregational mission and ministry excellence.
Dr. Vergel Lattimore, President, said “Hood Theological Seminary proudly serves the A.M.E. Zion Church (known as The Freedom Church) as an institution which invites creative spiritual collaboration and cooperation to heal communities.”
Hood Theological Seminary is one of 92 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent and serve churches in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, including Anabaptist, Baptist, Episcopal, evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, Restoration, Roman Catholic and Orthodox, as well as congregations that describe themselves as nondenominational. Several organizations serve congregations in Black, Hispanic and Asian-American traditions. Hood Theological Seminary, located at 1810 Lutheran Synod Drive, Salisbury, North Carolina, is a graduate and professional school sponsored by the A.M.E. Zion Church and approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.
“In the midst of a rapidly changing world, Christian congregations are grappling with how they can best carry forward their ministries,” said Christopher Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These grants will help congregations assess their ministries and draw on practices in their theological traditions to address new challenges and better nurture the spiritual vitality of the people they serve.”
Lilly Endowment launched the Thriving Congregations Initiative in 2019 as part of its commitment to support efforts that enhance the vitality of Christian congregations.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s grantmaking in religion is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen their pastoral and lay leadership.