Institute for Clergy Excellence receives third Lilly grant


In April, the Institute for Clergy Excellence (ICE) received its third grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.  Since receiving its first grant in 2002, the Institute for Clergy Excellence has worked to foster excellence through peer group learning experiences that provide collegial support, spiritual nurturing, and ongoing renewal in ministry by focusing on the study topic of a group’s choice.

This new $800,000 grant is for a pilot project to help spread ICE’s successful method to other organizations.

ICE Executive Director Dr. Larry Dill explains, “This is to support a pilot project to teach our method of trusting learners to develop their own learning. We will cultivate four to six seminaries, judicatories and/or independent providers of clergy continuing education to offer such opportunities for their learners to claim agency for self-directed renewal.”

Dill adds that the 2012 grant is for three years which makes it even larger than then $1 million grant the organization received in 2007 that was spread over five years.   Also, there is no expectation to raise local funds to match this new grant.

Dill says, “In essence it is a service contract to advocate, coach and evaluate institutions which are interested in experimenting with the method we have pioneered.”

ICE will continue its peer group program with funds developed over the last ten years.  Through December, 2011 ICE has raised $2.3 million in local funding on top of the previous two Lilly grants.  Dill adds, “In other words, the $3 million of Lilly money has leveraged an additional $2.3 million for clergy continuing education.”

Bishop Will Willimon says, “One of the greatest assets that is available to the North Alabama Conference is ICE, an invention of our conference under the leadership of Larry Dill.  ICE has helped to empower some of our most effective clergy.  Now, with this generous grant, ICE will be able to continue and to expand its work into the future.”

For more information about the Institute for Clergy Excellence go to

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