I was first exposed to the Lilly Endowment's deep impact upon seminaries, churches, pastors and other organizations while serving as the Director of Admissions at Duke Divinity School. The Lilly Endowment funded unique scholarships and fellowships that attracted the best and the brightest to our entering class. Students were able to serve in exceptional congregations around the country for a summer, growing in their pastoral formation in transformational ways. I have since benefited from the generosity of the Lilly Endowment in other life-giving ways - through my work with the Fund for Theological Education, a summer writing program at the Collegeville Institute, and now with the College of Pastoral Leaders at Austin Presbyterian Seminary. The Lilly Endowment has had a profound impact upon the church - and upon my life.
And it is the Lilly Endowment that has caused me to ponder, dream and reflect upon what would really make my heart sing. A creative and passionate team of people was pulled together last spring to help clarify my response while asking the same question for our congregation. Together we dreamed of a summer of deep engagement - intentional time to engage deeply with Jesus, deeply with our city and deeply with each other.
We would invite my teacher, mentor and friend and his wife to spend six weeks with us, filling the pulpit and leading an evening session of learning. We would seek to learn as much as we can from the Church of the Saviour and their ministries in our city. We would go away for a weekend on retreat. We would do yoga together and create some pottery or paintings. And we would enjoy a grand morning of music.
And then we learned that some dreams come true.