Presbytery of the Inland Northwest 
is a Lilly Grant Recipient!

Contact: Katie Stark (

November 30, 2023

The Presbytery of the Inland Northwest is thrilled to announce that we have received a $754,487 grant
from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish the Ezra 3:13 Project. We are so grateful!
The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the
initiative is to encourage the flourishing of congregations by helping them deepen their relationships
with God, enhance their connections with each other, and contribute to the vitality of their communities
and the world.

The Thriving Congregations grant will partner with our Presbytery to enable (primarily small) churches to
rediscover vitality by participating in a learning cohort, which will lead to clarifying mission and values,
deepening their relationships with God by drawing on the Christian practices of discernment and
hospitality, enhancing connections with each other, and contributing to the flourishing of their
communities by aligning building use with mission. Churches that participate in the cohort will design
a proposal for new building use that aligns with their defined mission. They will have the opportunity
to apply for a seed grant at the end of the first year that will financially partner with them to
accomplish their proposed new building use.

Over the last sixteen years, the Presbytery has guided congregations through technical and adaptive
changes to adjust to our changing social and cultural contexts. Through our adaptive work over the last
decade, many of our congregations have shifted toward strengthening outwardly focused ministries that
serve those in their communities. This important work led to the creation of the Missional Expeditor
position in 2018. Five years ago we began Cyclical INW to support leaders called to start new
expressions of church, knowing that as we move into this unknown future we will need both our existing
congregations and new expressions of church to fully live out and share the gospel. We believe God
continues to call us to that work, focusing next on how best to leverage church buildings and other
physical assets more effectively to advance congregations’ mission and engagement with neighbors. This
grant will launch our Presbytery into a new and exciting future where we experiment with how
stewarding our buildings allows us to live out and share the gospel in new ways. We are thrilled to have
this opportunity to partner with the Lilly Endowment.

The Presbytery of the Inland Northwest is one of 105 organizations that has received grants through a
competitive round of the Thriving Congregations Initiative. Reflecting a wide variety of Christian
traditions, the organizations represent mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, peace
church and Pentecostal faith communities.

“Congregations play an essential role in deepening the faith of individuals and contributing to the vitality
of communities,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We hope that
these programs will nurture the vibrancy and spark the creativity of congregations, helping them imagine
new ways to share God’s love in their communities and across the globe.”

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr.
through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain
the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct
governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the
causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its
hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion
grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out
and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay
leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of
diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the
United States and across the globe.