The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Inc. (SDPC), a social justice organization which reaches African American congregations from around the country, has received a three-year grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to create an initiative to enable congregations and organizations to address and correct the economic challenges facing pastoral leaders.
The Endowment is giving $28 million in grants as a part of its commitment to support pastoral leadership. SDPC was one of 28 organizations selected for this initiative. A variety of Christian traditions have received grant awards.
With this grant, SDPC will establish the SDPC Micah Institute and Ministerial Excellence Fund, which will be a long-term program to foster pastoral excellence and which will serve as a financial investment to help serve and sustain ministerial excellence in the communities represented by SDPC member congregations.
The SDPC Micah Institute and Ministerial Excellence Fund will “foster well-being and self-care of clergy, congregations and communities,” according to SDPC General Secretary Iva Carruthers.
Carruthers said that clergy leaders and the congregational constituency of SDPC “find themselves at the epicenter of sites of dire need to address gaps in social and resource opportunities for America’s most marginalized communities, as well as the overall need for racial healing throughout the nation. The role of faith leaders in these communities has proven to be unique and consequential.”
Leveraging this national Lilly initiative, SDPC will deepen its capacity to catalyze clergy and congregational engagement in community-based economic development. A “Theology of Sufficiency” – countering the unfair distribution of available resources – will be used. The target audience and partners for this project will include pastors, congregational lay leaders, seminaries and their students.
SDPC will announce the launch date for the SDPC Micah Institute and Ministerial Excellence Fund in the first quarter of 2016.