The Role of Seminaries in the Lilly Endowment National Initiative

June 21, 2018

June 6-8, 2018, Washington, D.C.

As part of the Episcopal Church Foundation’s (ECF) Lilly Endowment National Initiative to address the economic challenges facing pastoral leaders, ECF hosted a three-day gathering for deans/presidents and senior academic officers of the ten Episcopal seminaries on “The Role of Seminaries in Addressing the Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders.” The summit focused on exchanging ideas on curricular guidelines and co-curricular activities and promoting tools for faculty to help future pastoral leaders think more deeply about the role of money, finance, economy, generosity, and stewardship in relation to their own lives, their parishes, and their surrounding communities.

Participants met at Washington National Cathedral and learned about current trends in clergy demographics, increasing seminary debt, and the realities of the job market post-graduation from Dr. Matthew Price, Senior Vice President for Research and Data of the Church Pension Group. The Rev. Dr. David Gortner and Dr. Steven Tomlinson shared current work that is being done at Virginia Theological (VTS) and Seminary of the Southwest (SSW) respectively in helping students to become effective preachers, teachers, and leaders on issues of money. The Very Rev. Martha Horne, Dean Emerita of VTS, lead participants in fruitful and challenging discussions on how they could participate in shifting the curriculum in their own seminaries while still maintaining their unique and historical identities. Seminaries focused on where they could contribute to this initiative and where they might form coalitions with other seminaries or partners to better share resources. Finally, ECF President Donald Romanik outlined a plan of action and tasks going forward for seminaries to collaborate in this important project.

ECF will continue to provide support to seminaries with the development and implementation of curricular guidelines, the creation of accessible tools for faculty who are at the forefront of teaching, and to build an inter-institutional approach to comprehensively and collaboratively address the larger Lilly Endowment Initiative on the “Roles of Seminaries in Addressing the Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders”.

For further information contact: Adriane Bilous, Lilly Project Coordinator, or 212-870-2839