OPSF receives $1.2 million grant to support preachers

October 10, 2023 


The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation has received a grant of $1,249,912 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish the Center(ed) for Proclamation program. 

The program is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to foster and support preaching that inspires, encourages, and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully. 

Unfolding over a five-year period, Center(ed) for Proclamation supports aspiring and seasoned preachers in three ways. The new endeavor (1) establishes online Certificate in Preaching courses to equip congregational lay leaders for worship leadership, (2) provides in-person preaching intensives for ministers of word and sacrament and commissioned ruling elders to refresh preaching skills and explore new modalities of proclamation, and (3) launches the Bountiful Preaching Cohort grant, for self-directed groups of preaching peers to learn together over two years. 

OPSF’s programming is rooted in the theology of the priesthood of all believers, supporting PC(USA) congregational leaders across a spectrum of leadership roles, including pastors and gifted lay leaders. The Reverend Shelli Latham, president of the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation (OPSF), says, “The Center(ed) for Proclamation program particularly expands our capacity to serve key congregational leaders who, in rural and small congregations, are carrying increased responsibility for worship. By equipping fresh preachers and filling the cups and competencies of longtime proclaimers, we have an exciting new opportunity to serve both preachers and congregations.”  

The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation is one of 81 organizations receiving grants through this competitive round of the Compelling Preaching Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, Anabaptist and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in the Black Church and in Hispanic and Asian American Christian traditions. 

“Throughout history, preachers often have needed to adapt their preaching practices to engage new generations of hearers more effectively,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We are pleased that the organizations receiving grants in this initiative will help pastors and others in ministry engage in the kinds of preaching needed today to ensure that the gospel message is heard and accessible for all audiences.” 

Lilly Endowment launched the Compelling Preaching Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting projects that help to nurture the religious lives of individuals and families and foster the growth and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States.   

About Lilly Endowment Inc. 

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.