The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina has received a nearly $1 million grant to help establish Reimagining Curacies, a program designed to form newly ordained clergy into community-conscious leaders dedicated to cultivating authentic community and racial reconciliation. It is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry, an initiative to support a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs to help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry.
Reimagining Curacies focuses on developing clergy into transformative leaders during their initial church placements after they graduate from seminary. While traditional curacies place new priests in one congregation for two or three years, this new model will assign cohorts of three priests to three vibrant congregations near each other for three years, with each priest serving one year in each congregation. These placements will be geographically proximate to one another but differ in size, liturgical preference, racial and ethnic composition, community context and specialized ministries. This will allow priests to experience the range of challenges and gifts North Carolina communities offer.
“It is with gratitude and great excitement that we announce the $996,549 Lilly Endowment grant in support of Reimagining Curacies,” said the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. “We are blessed with a broad range of exceptionally gifted and creative clergy who are embracing the challenges of forming and shaping leadership for the congregations of the 21st century. With the support of this grant, we will be able to engage even more deeply in that work through the visionary leadership of new clergy.”
The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina is one of 78 organizations located in 29 states taking part in the nearly $70 million Thriving in Ministry initiative. Thriving in Ministry is part of Lilly Endowment’s grant-making to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States, a grant-making priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years.
“Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “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 Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina’s Reimagining Curacies, will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”
The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina consists of more than 40,000 baptized members, 109 churches, and 10 chaplaincies and campus ministries.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. – that supports the causes of community development, education and religion.