Lilly Endowment Awards Clergy Renewal Grant to Rev. Linda Pierce
One of 158 recipients in 40 states, Rev. Linda Summers Pierce of Christ United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, Southwest District, has recently been awarded a renewal grant from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. The program allows these congregations to send their pastors for an extended time of renewal and reflection to gain the fresh perspective and renewed energy that a carefully considered season of travel, study, rest and prayer can provide. Rev. Pierce will be taking her sabbatical between July and September of next year.
During her time away, Rev. Pierce plans to focus on family and family worship, faith and spiritual formation through worship in community, and on close communion and fellowship with God. She’ll gather with her family in San Antonio during July for an intentional time of fellowship and family worship, designed by the children and grandchildren. In August, she and her spouse will travel to Great Britain and Scotland where they will draw on the wisdom of our Methodist ancestors in the faith and spend time living in Christian community on the island of Iona. Finally she and her youngest son will hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in September where Rev. Pierce hopes to experience the transformative power of time alone with God.
Craig Dykstra, senior vice president for religion at the Endowment says, “This program gives pastors the gift of being able to live for a while at a different pace and in an alternative environment. We can think of no better way to honor these hardworking, faithful men and women than to help them experience personal growth and renewal in ways that they themselves believe will feed them most deeply.”
Rev. Pierce adds, “I am excited that this is not just a grant for my personal renewal, but that it also provides funds for renewing activities within the church I serve. There’s funding built into the proposal for an off-site leadership development retreat for key staff and key lay leaders and funding for a community outreach effort. It’s not just time away for me; but time away for the sake of partnership with God on behalf of the mission and ministries of Christ United Methodist Church.”