The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) has received a $49,500 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., through its Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. The planning grant will be used to develop a detailed implementation strategy to equip leaders to address the intersecting areas of equity and climate health.
In the grant proposal, James Nieman, president, stated, “Church leaders now must grasp and confront twin forces that endanger us all –first, harm to neighbor due to race, gender, and sexuality; and second, harm to creation due to climate change. These are deeply theological questions of sin and evil to which the gospel replies with truth, healing, and promise. Attending to these must be part of the formation we offer from now on.”
The grant was made in the first phase of the three-phase Pathways initiative, which was launched in early 2021. The initiative is part of Lilly Endowment’s commitment to support efforts that strengthen religious institutions and networks. It seeks to enhance their effectiveness and long-term sustainability by addressing key challenges and taking advantage of promising opportunities.
Chris Huang, director of institutional effectiveness and registrar, will lead a steering team through a 20-week period to explore key issues and to develop the implementation plan. Team members are Veronica Kyle, state outreach director for Faith in Place, and LSTC staff and faculty, James Nieman; Sandra Nelson, vice president for advancement; José David Rodríguez, acting dean of academic affairs and Augustana Heritage Chair of Global Mission and World Christianity; Barbara Rossing, professor of New Testament; Ben Stewart, director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science and Gordon A. Braatz Associate Professor of Worship; and Marvin Wickware, assistant professor of church and society and ethics.
The team will use the planning period to enhance LSTC’s awareness of the scope and significance of the areas of equity and climate health, developing wider ownership across the school for this distinctive curricular orientation. It will carry out this work through consultation with local and topical experts, conducting several small conferences with area partners to identify mutual interests, and developing relationships that bring long-term support to this focus in ministry leadership formation.
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. 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.
Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Registrar
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.