New grants program seeks young clergy, local church support

Congregations can apply for Fund for Theological Education grants.
With many mainline Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church expecting fewer young pastors in coming years, the Fund for Theological Education (FTE) says that it will receive $6 million from the Lilly Endowment for matching grants to congregations that back seminarians starting their Master of Divinity studies.

The Atlanta-based FTE announced this month that the new four-year grant marks a significant shift for the organization by looking to local congregations and church-related institutions to nurture candidates for the ordained ministry.

“For 51 years,” said Ann Svennungsen, president of the fund, “we’ve been giving fellowships to individuals to help them get their degrees.” Now, she said, after two pilot programs, FTE officials hope to establish a national network of 500 congregations and institutions that will nominate and support young first-year M.Div. students.


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