Local pastor earns grant

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First Presbyterian Church sits at 1207 Conner St. in Noblesville. (Submitted photo)

Noblesville’s First Presbyterian Church Noblesville at 1207 Conner St. has received a grant of $50,000 to enable Pastor Eric Gale to participate in the 2016 Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations.

FBC is one of 29 congregations in Indiana selected to participate in this program, which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Established by the Endowment in 1999, the program’s grants allow congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from their ministerial duties and responsibilities.

CIN COM 0124 pastor grant

Ministers whose congregations are awarded the grants use their renewal experiences to engage in reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering ministers a carefully considered respite that may include travel, study, rest, immersive arts experiences and prayers.

Gale will begin a time of renewal and reflection, or Sabbath rest, in the spring of 2017 (in late May or early June) and continue through mid-September 2017.

The church says the purpose of this three-month opportunity for Gale is fourfold – to reflect on 28 years of ministry and spend time with family, to travel, to develop a renewed voice to prepare for five to 10 more years of ministry in Noblesville, and to pursue his passion for golf.

“Lilly Endowment intends for this program to enable pastors to live for a while at a different pace and in a new environment, in Sabbath time and space,” Dr. Christopher L. Coble, the Endowment’s vice president for religion, stated in a press release. “We can think of no better way to honor these hardworking, faithful men and women than to help them experience personal growth and spiritual renewal in ways that they themselves design and find meaningful. We regularly hear that these renewal experiences are transformative for pastors, their families and their congregations.”