Southern Ohio Synod receives a $1.25 Million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

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April 3, 2024

The Southern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has received a $1.25 Million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Funds will support the Synod’s new ministry, Paraclete Post, designed to equip families to grow in their faith together by providing age-appropriate books, art, and materials for spiritual play and conversation through the mail. These thematic parcels will draw upon the rhythms of the liturgical calendar. Caregivers are met where they are with resources to engage the divine and pass on the faith while creating at-home faith-libraries.

Lilly Endowment made the grant through its Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children.

The Synod’s Director for Evangelical Mission, Pr. Katie Kerrigan, is excited about this new outreach to children and their families: “We are delighted to be able to support families in this way, by providing high quality books, art, and other resources to support parents and caregivers as they explore faith with their children. Our dream has been to make these resources freely available, and this generous grant from Lilly Endowment helps us to get started.”

“Our baptismal promises charge each of us with the task of passing on the faith to the next generation,” said Bishop Suzanne Darcy Dillahunt, Bishop of the Southern Ohio Synod. “Empowering children and families to hear, read about, and grow in their faith is part of the mission of Paraclete Post. This ministry is a response to our baptismal calling and will strengthen the entire body of Christ, starting with children and their caregivers. I am thrilled we received this grant and pray that families will be engaged in reading and sharing their faith because of this ministry.”

The Southern Ohio Synod is one of 125 organizations that have received grants through the Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic and Asian Christian Traditions.

“We’ve heard from many parents who are seeking to nurture the spiritual lives of their children, especially in their daily activities, and looking to churches and other faith-based organizations for support,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These thoughtful, creative and collaborative organizations embrace the important role that families have in shaping the religious development of children and are launching programs to assist parents and caregivers with this task.” Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting efforts to help individuals and families from diverse Christian communities draw more fully on the wisdom of Christian practices to live out their faith fully and well passing on a vibrant faith to a new generation.

About the Southern Ohio Synod
The Southern Ohio Synod is one of 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), representing almost 184 congregations and worshiping communities and over 52,000 members. For more information, visit

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.