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Lis Van Harten
(First appeared in the January 2012 issue of Ministry Reports to Classes and Councils.)
In 2003, the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) program was introduced to the CRCNA. While the program components have evolved over the years, the overriding goal remains: to support and encourage pastors and pastors’ spouses. Since the beginning, SPE has been funded by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment. This funding will soon end. Synod 2010 mandated the Board of Trustees “to explore options for continued funding for SPE after the Lilly Endowment [funds] end”. Synod 2011 “expressed thanks that the BOT has responded to the call to provide funds to continue SPE even after grant funding is completed”. As we head into 2012, the best parts of SPE (pastor learning groups, pastors’ spouses’ conferences, and pastor couple learning events) will continue with denominational funding.
Synod 2006 requested a plan be prepared to promote healthy congregations to assist local congregations using the Synod 2005 approved Ministry Share. As a result, the Sustaining Congregational Excellence (SCE) program was launched. It was patterned after SPE. Its overriding goal is to create and sustain healthy congregations—specifically in smaller congregations.
As 2012 begins, SPE and SCE will undergo a transformation of sorts. For the pastors, pastors’ spouses, ministry leaders, and congregations, nothing will change. The programs will continue on as they have been. The same staff will be answering the phones/email. The same activities/events/grants will be offered. The same procedures for grants will be in place. The transformation or change taking place will be internal. Rather than having an Implementation Team for both programs, there’ll be one. Processes will be streamlined. Administratively, this is a positive move.
One thing you, the reader, will notice is that there will only be one article in the Ministry Reports to Classes and Councils from here on in. Stay tuned for future reports from SCE/SPE.