Monday, July 23 , 2018, 8:36 am | Fair 74º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Westmont Receives Grant From Lilly Endowment to Develop Youth Theology Institute

A grant from the Lilly Endowment will allow Westmont to foster theology education for high school students.
A grant from the Lilly Endowment will allow Westmont to foster theology education for high school students. (Westmont photo)

Westmont College has received a grant of $590,400 to establish Trailhead: Seeking God’s Call, a high school youth theology institute. Part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, Trailhead seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

Four two-day modules form the heart of Westmont’s two-week summer residential program; each module addresses a critical social concern and a fundamental theological theme.

The modules include visits with local ministries or social service providers, theological reflection on topics related to those visits, academic analysis of relevant issues and thematically inspired worship experiences.

Workshops on leadership, spiritual formation and vocational discernment, as well as opportunities for rest, reflection and recreation, will augment these core experiences.

The first summer program is scheduled for summer 2017. Students who will be rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders that summer will be eligible to apply.

Westmont’s Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts will develop and implement the program, with support from the Dallas Willard Center for Christian Spiritual Formation and the Mosher Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership. The program will draw on faculty from Westmont and Fuller Theological Seminary.

“Westmont wholeheartedly shares Lilly Endowment’s desire to nurture the intellectual aptitudes and interests of religiously serious young people,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We’re committed to sustaining that exploratory, reflective spirit in our students during their undergraduate years.”

Westmont is one of 82 schools participating in the initiative, located in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Although some schools are independent, many reflect the religious heritage of their founding traditions, including Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reformed churches, as well as Roman Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal and historic African-American Christian communities.

“These colleges and universities are well-positioned to reach out to high school students in this way,” said Dr. Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment. “They have outstanding faculty in theology and religion who know how to help young people explore the wisdom of religious traditions and apply these insights to contemporary challenges.”

Lilly Endowment is giving $44.5 million in grants to help a select group of private four-year colleges and universities around the nation create the institutes. The grants are part of Lilly Endowment’s commitment to identify and cultivate a cadre of theologically minded youth who will become leaders in church and society.  

An additional grant to the Forum for Theological Exploration will establish a program bringing together leaders of the high school youth theology institutes to foster mutual learning and support.

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 supports the causes of religion, education and community development. They seek to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians, largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

Scott Craig is the manager of media relations at Westmont College.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >