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Lilly Endowment Awards Grant for Large-Church Leadership Research Project at Wesley Theological Seminary

Jan 10 2014

The Rev. Dr. James P. Wind, formerly with the Alban Institute, will direct research project.

January 10, 2013, Washington, D.C. – Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded Wesley Theological Seminary a major research grant for a unique, three-year, large-church leadership project. The project will study large congregations and identify ways to develop the leadership-education resources and strategies required to help future leaders of these congregations. The Rev. Dr. James P. Wind will serve as the director of the project. Wind has retired from 18 years service as president of the Alban Institute to conduct this research and join the Wesley faculty as Visiting Distinguished Professor.  

“One of the most important developments of the past 40 years is the growth and development of the larger membership churches, but they have not been adequately studied. They make enormous contributions to American Christianity and are drivers in national and international mission. They also face significant challenges. I believe this study, which will involve deep and prolonged conversation with the pastors of large-membership churches, will be important for them and for Wesley as we seek to prepare leaders for the church,” said Wesley President David McAllister-Wilson. “Also, there will be significant synergies between this project and our Lewis Center for Church Leadership and our Center for the Missional Church.”

Wind is a prominent voice in the wider conversation about the role of religion in America and the value of congregations. He has written two books (The Bible and the University: The Messianic Vision of William Rainey Harper and Places of Worship: Exploring Their History) and co-edited five others (Carriers of Faith: Lessons from Congregational Studies, Clergy Ethics in a Changing Society, New Dimensions in American Religious History, and American Congregations, volumes 1 and 2). He also has published numerous articles and reviews in a wide variety of journals and magazines, including a regular column in Congregations magazine.

Wind served as president of the Alban Institute since 1995.  He serves on the board of directors of the Odyssey Networks and the Chapter (governing board) of the Washington National Cathedral. He has recently been elected to the board of directors of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Prior to coming to the Alban Institute, Dr. Wind worked at Lilly Endowment, the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith and Ethics and the University of Chicago Divinity School’s Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion. 

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grant-making is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes. 

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