The Pathways to Vitality Initiative is completing the second year of a three-year grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The overall purpose of the initiative is to create vital and sustainable congregations through financial literacy, innovative programming and grant making. We have made considerable progress in achieving the following goals of the grant.

Goal #1: To create a culture of transparency regarding clergy and parish finances in our congregations

  • Provided Vestry Resource Guides to Vestry College participants.
  • Conducted financial literacy workshops at the Spring Clergy Conference.
  • Hosted a free webinar, “Money – What Is It To You?” in conjunction with the Episcopal Church Foundation.
  • Maintained — a financial literacy resource tool for entire Diocese.
  • Collaborated with the Episcopal Church Foundation on programming and content.

Goal #2: To enhance ministerial innovation, vitality and sustainability in our congregations

  • Completed a national search for the Pathway’s Deacon and hired The Rev’d Erin Hougland.
  • Completed a national search for the Pilot Parishes curriculum consultant and hired The Rev’d Dr. Carol Pinkham Oak from the Diocese of Maryland.
  • Recruited The Rev’d Dr. James Lemler as the Pathways chaplain.
  • Recruited a resource team of experts to assist our Pilot Parishes as necessary.
  • Working with our Steering Committee and curriculum consultant, designed and created content for the Pilot Parishes retreat and series of workshops on congregational vitality for the next 12 months.
  • Selected three Pilot Parishes: All Saints (Indianapolis), Good Samaritan (Brownsburg) and St. Timothy’s (Indianapolis).
  • Launched the Pilot Parishes Initiative in August 2017.

Goal #3: To create a Ministerial Excellence Fund (MEF) to provide appropriate support to clergy and their families to enhance their financial well-being.

  • Developed and launched a seminary debt assistance program for stipendiary clergy.
  • Developed a seminary scholarship program with a block grant of $30,000 to the Bishop to be launched at convention.
  • Developed a financial planning program for stipendiary clergy to be launched at convention.
  • Made three emergency grants.
  • Consulted with several clergy to assist in the development of grant requests.

Many, many heartfelt thanks to members of the Pathways Steering Committee and the MEF Grant Committee for their time and dedication to this important work. Our progress would not be possible without them!

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