Last month, Martha Lyle Ford, director of the Center for Faith and Imagination (CFI) at MTS, and Martha Park, program coordinator for CFI as well as the Methodist House of Studies, traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Thriving in Ministry Convening, which brought together representatives of the organizations receiving grants from the Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry Program.

Source: Wellbeing at Work

At the Convening, participants shared resources, exchanged ideas, and reflected on what it means for ministers to thrive. Participants also got the chance to learn from and engage with Dr. Matt Bloom, an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame and the Principle Investigator for their Wellbeing at Work Program, when he presented their research on the wellbeing of clergy and their families.

Bloom shared what they’ve found about the components of daily wellbeing, the importance of a life narrative in cultivating an authentic pastoral identity, the need for membership and fellowship, and the importance of “small steps,” or daily practices that can help restore pastoral imagination.

Martha Lyle Ford

“The Convening was a great opportunity for us to get to know our colleagues in the Thriving in Ministry grant program and to discuss in-depth our thoughts and plans for CFI,” Ford said. “We came away with increased confidence and enthusiasm for the work the Center will be launching in the coming months.” 

Through Thriving in Ministry, The Lilly Endowment has made grants to 78 organizations seeking to support clergy and excellence in congregational ministries. The grants range from $31,500 to $1 million. Memphis Theological Seminary was the recipient of a $1 million grant, with which it has launched the Center for Faith and Imagination. Learn more about CFI at