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Wellness & Renewal Grants

The Central/Southern Illinois Synod encourages ministers to live whole and healthy lives. To this end, the synod offers a variety of grants for renewal and wellness.

Grant funds are limited. Applications are ongoing and will be considered in the order in which they are submitted. These grants are made possible through Portico’s past practice of providing wellness dollars to synods.

Grants are available to one or more of the following:

  • rostered ministers serving under call or appointment
  • rostered ministers on leave from call
  • people in synod-authorized ministry currently serving under consecutive authorization agreements for more than 12 months
  • paid staff members (non-rostered) who serve in a congregation within the synod or in the synod office and who have Portico/ELCA health insurance

Eligibility is also dependent upon these two reports on file in the synod office: Congregational Statistical Reports (Form A and C) and a minister’s Annual Report to the Bishop. Grants may be combined.

Available to: rostered ministers serving under call or appointment.

Clergy Renewal (Sabbatical) Leave seeks to strengthen Christian congregations by providing opportunities for pastors to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life and to engage in a period of renewal and reflection. Renewal periods are not vacations but times for intentional exploration and reflection, for regaining enthusiasm and creativity for ministry, for discovering what will enliven in grace and joy continued ministry through and with the congregation. For more information, please read the resource guide for congregations and rostered ministers preparing for a renewal leave.

The Central/Southern Illinois Synod gives financial support grants for Clergy Renewal (Sabbatical) Leaves: up to $1,000 to support leave activities of the pastor and up to $1,000 to assist the congregation with costs for pastoral ministry during the pastor’s leave for each Clergy Renewal (Sabbatical) Leave.

This grant has two components: up to $1,000 to the person as support for the person’s clergy renewal or sabbatical activities and up to $1,000 to the congregation or synodical office to assist with providing for ministry during the person on leave’s absence.

Available to: all categories listed above.

Portico’s Wholeness Wheel can help guide us to healthier living. “Stewarding Our Health Grants” provide support as you take steps toward greater well-being. You may apply for funding in more than one area for a maximum grant request of $200.

Wholeness Wheel And Grant Categories

Portico’s “Wholeness Wheel” illustrates that wellness is multi-dimensional: made up of spiritual, vocational, intellectual, emotional, physical, social, and financial dimensions of well-being. Spiritual well-being accompanies our well-being in all other dimensions. Please visit Portico Benefit Services to learn more about the Wholeness Wheel.

At the center of the wheel, we are a new creation through the waters of baptism. Christ lives in us and through us and calls us to love and serve one another. What does it mean to be a new creation? We receive the gift of grace through Christ, who came that we might have abundant life. Abundant life lives as a new creation, being grounded and centered in Christ and loving our neighbor as ourselves. It is when we are living well in Christ that we are best equipped to pass on our faith.

Grant Categories

Spiritual Well-Being: Living a centered life focused on God affects each aspect of our well-being. Turn to God for strength as you seek to live well in Christ. Nurture your relationship with God through prayer, devotions, worship, nature, art, and music. Explore who you are and know whose you are. You may be approved for the grant in advance of the event of activity, but you must submit a receipt for reimbursement.

Social/Interpersonal Well-Being: We are created by God to be social beings, living in community and instructed to help and love each other. We maintain social well-being through interaction, play and forgiveness. Take time to nurture your relationships with family, friends, congregation and co-workers. Example: couple or family participation in a Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center activity.

Emotional Well-Being: Being emotionally well means feeling the full range of human emotions and expressing them appropriately. Self-awareness is the first step. Recognizing and honoring our own feelings and those of others—stress, contentment, anger, love, sadness, joy, resentment—will help you live life abundantly. Example: fees and expenses associated with approved programs designed to promote healthy emotional processing in personal lives and congregational systems.

Physical Well-Being: While we are not all born perfectly healthy or able to live life without injury or illness, we can live well by tending and nurturing our body as a gift from God. Feed it healthy foods, keep it hydrated, build physical endurance through regular exercise, and  respect your body’s need for rest. Examples: join a gym or fitness group and engage in 30 minutes of physical activity for a minimum of eight weeks; receive healthy diet tutoring.

Financial Well-Being: Being financially well involves making decisions based on our values, as reflected in the way we save, spend, and share. Tending to one’s financial well-being in this way requires us to be resilient, generous, and focused on sustainability. Examples: create or update a will; receive budget tutoring; Portico retirement seminar.

Vocational Well-Being: We all have a calling—a vocation—to follow Christ’s example by living a life of meaning, purpose and service to our neighbor. Our vocations make up our life’s work and passions—they are the everyday roles through which God calls us to help make this world a better place. Those who are well vocationally are faithful stewards of their talents and abilities and find opportunities to build and use them. Example: books or seminars serving vocational development or vocational discernment resources.

Intellectual Well-Being: Using our minds keeps us alert and active. Stay curious, ask questions, and seek answers. Explore new responsibilities, experience new things and keep an open mind. And remember, knowing when and how to let your mind rest is as important as keeping active. Example: fees and expenses associated with continuing education events. You may be approved for the grant in advance of the event or activity, but you must submit a receipt for reimbursement.

Available to: rostered ministers serving under call or appointment, people in synod-authorized ministry currently serving under consecutive authorization agreements for more than 12 months.

Making time and space for intentional sabbath and resetting the direction of your life and ministry from time to time is important. The C/SIS has money dedicated to the well-being of ministers and offers grants up to $500 (reimbursed) for you to spend time away from your regular ministry context for renewal.

To apply for this grant, plan your renewal retreat and then submit your application prior to your retreat. Consider where you will go and when, what you intend to do on your retreat, and anticipated expenses. Reimbursement funds may cover transportation, lodging, food, up to two books you intend to read on retreat, the cost of up to two sessions with an ELCA coach or a spiritual director (at least one of the two sessions must be while on retreat), or other expenses particular to your plan.

This grant offers up to $500 for ministers to renew themselves and their ministry in a retreat environment. Following your retreat, submit your expenses for reimbursement. Please note that you must apply for the grant before your retreat.