Hope Community Church in Newburyport recently received a $46,965 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. so that its pastor, Peter J. Balentine, can participate in its National Clergy Renewal Program. Hope Community Church is one of 147 Christian congregations in 38 states and the District of Columbia that will support their ministers in the program. The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment awarded nearly $6.5 million in funding. From May 1 to Aug. 18, Ballentine will travel to Israel for religious study and then be joined by his family for a trip to Hawaii, where they will serve in a vacation bible school. The family will also visit Pearl Harbor (where Balentine was stationed while in the Navy), learn about Polynesian culture, and reconnect with Hawaiian missionaries. The Lilly Endowment grant also will help the church experience spiritual renewal — funding will support special guest speakers and interim leadership in Balentine’s absence. In addition, a professional church historian will be hired to sift through Hope Community Church’s rich history, preserving and cataloging the church’s archives. The National Clergy Renewal Program was established in 2000. For more information on the program, visit lillyendowment.org.
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