$1M for Missouri Clergy Support

“This is truly news worth rejoicing over!… What incredible generosity and meaningful ministry you all have to celebrate there in Missouri,” shared Elise Erikson Barrett, Program Director for the Lilly Endowment, upon learning of the successful effort.

The Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis is one of the few major private funders that focuses on the health and vitality of churches in America.  Several of their recent initiatives have awarded grants for programming that supports clergy health and well-being.

“Lilly often aims to maximize local engagement by challenging folks to match some portion of the grant funds before they can be accessed,” states Missouri UM Foundation president David Atkins.  The Foundation’s Clergy & Church Financial Ministry (C2FM) was started by a Lilly grant in 2016 and required a $500,000 match.

“We crossed the finish line at last,” smiles Rev. Mark Struckhoff, “thanks to hundreds of generous United Methodists across Missouri.”  Struckhoff is the new director of the C2FM program which uses the funds for direct aid to Missouri pastors facing financial challenges.

“This successful effort represents extraordinary support from Bishop Farr, David and Thelma Steward, the Foundation Board of Trustees and staff, and many congregations and individuals,” states Struckhoff.  “These funds will make a big difference for pastors, congregations, and our annual conference.”

The grant and matching funds are earmarked for direct aid to clergy and clergy families to assist with financial challenges ranging from student loan debt to housing, from seminary scholarships to emergencies. So far, C2FM has distributed more than $500,000 in direct aid to 104 Missouri clergy and their families.  C2FM also provides free financial coaching, clergy education, and support to local congregations for financial ministry.

According to Struckhoff, “The heart and soul of C2FM is to encourage clergy and their families, and create new possibilities through direct aid, coaching, and a variety of resources aimed at calming financial storms, both big and small, personal and congregational.”

The Foundation continues to accept gifts to the program and is committed to sustaining C2FM and its service to Missouri’s pastors far into the future.

Visit our C2FM page to learn more.