Presbytery of the Inland Northwest 
is a Lilly Grant Recipient!

In November 2023 our Presbytery was notified that we are recipients of the Lilly Endowment: Thriving Congregations Initiative. Knowing that many congregations are struggling with decline, the Lilly Endowment is specifically interested in helping congregations to thrive in a post-pandemic, post-Christian culture.  Our proposal explores how we can steward our land and buildings for community impact in a way that also aligns with our unique sense of mission.


Many of our churches are declining and have a much smaller congregation than when we were at our peak in membership.  Many of our buildings are aging and require significant repairs.   Through the Ezra 3 Project we are exploring how our buildings could be an asset to the community – how we can use our buildings in ways that help the community to flourish.
 
Churches that choose to participate will put together a “Design Team” made up of the pastor, 1-2 currently serving elders, and 1-2 regular attenders. This team will use Rooted Good’s “Good Futures Accelerator” (https://www.rootedgood.org/good-futurescurriculum. Partners for Sacred Places (https://sacredplaces.org/) will do a site visit with each church and guide conversations with community stakeholders as churches discern how they might serve their community. Additionally, the design teams from each participating church will meet together for five cohort gatherings over the course of a year to learn from another and share ideas. At the end of a year, each church will have the opportunity to apply for a $10,000 seed grant to implement a project designed as a result of their work. Churches will be provided a coach who will work with them for the next year as they implement their project.
 
There will be four cohorts for the Ezra 3 Project:
1) Spring 2024 – Churches with 50 or fewer members
2) Fall 2025 – Churches with 100 or fewer members
3) Winter 2026 – Churches of any size
4) Nimiipuu Churches – this cohort will run parallel to cohort 3. launching Winter 2026