The Center for Clergy Renewal at Holy Wisdom Monastery Celebrates 5 Years!

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In 2018 a group of members from the communities of Holy Wisdom gathered to discern the opportunity to apply for a one-million-dollar grant from the Lilly Endowment’s Thriving In Ministry initiative. Now five years into this work, we celebrate the vision and commitment of the Benedictine Women of Madison and the volunteers who prayed, dreamed, wrote drafts, prayed some more, wrote some more and finally received news that they were awarded the full grant which enabled this new Center for Clergy Renewal to take root within the communities of Holy Wisdom Monastery.

Some highlights from the first five years:

  • 74 pastors tell us that they are being deeply blessed by their fifteen-day Contemplative Renewal Immersions into the people, place, and spiritual practices of Holy Wisdom Monastery.
  • These pastors, from 9 Christian denominations, are arriving here from all over North America and Europe. Their presence with us is broadening and enriching our ecumenical Holy Wisdom community.
  • A new initiative called Deep Breath was launched in 2023. This offering is funded by a generous $15,000 grant from the Living Compass Wellness Initiative and provides pastors with the resources to experience time for personal retreats at Holy Wisdom Monastery. For more information see: .

Once they have awarded a grant, the Lilly Endowment inspires and encourages the ongoing work of their Thriving in Ministry grantees by offering a one-time-only matching grant of up to $500,000. We want that matching grant! Our goal is to raise $500,000 by March 1, 2024 to provide funding for another 5 years of the Center for Clergy Renewal’s work. That work is making Holy Wisdom’s mission of “weaving prayer, hospitality, justice and care for the earth into a shared way of life,” real and transformative in pastor’s ministry. We are humbled to announce that thanks to the generosity of many people in the Holy Wisdom communities, and the friends and cohort pastors of the Center for Clergy Renewal, we have reached $400,000 toward that goal! Thank you to all who have offered support and encouragement across these first five years. We are deeply grateful.

As we enter our next five years, we invite each of you who are reading today’s Weekly Wisdom to give any amount you can. Right now your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Lilly Endowment—doubling your generosity! If you are moved to offer a financial gift toward the ongoing work of the CCR please follow this link:

In the coming weeks we will share stories in Weekly Wisdom of some of the many ways we are building an ongoing community of spiritually renewed clergy. They are taking the gifts of this amazing monastery out to their communities across the country. They are telling us stories and we will share them with you. Thank you for praying for the pastors. Thank you for praying for the CCR’s continuing work of renewing pastor’s spirits as they live out the privilege and the challenge of serving Christ in a hurting world.

Nancy & Kathleen

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