Claremont School of Theology Receives $1 Million Grant

Claremont School of Theology is proud to announce that it is the recipient of a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. These funds will help the school sharpen its educational vision and reinvent its operational structures to form church leaders for service to a profoundly changing church.

“I am so excited for CST to have received this important grant,” said CST’s president, the Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan. “It will reinforce our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within our institution and will strengthen our work in the preparation of leaders for the church — particularly for our students of color.

“I see the project as an extension of the ethos and values embedded in CST’s identity, and I could not be more grateful to Lilly Endowment for its visionary leadership in the creation and funding of the Pathways Initiative,” said Dr. Kuan.

CST’s proposal grew out of the need it identified for the school to serve rapidly changing demographics through world-class, Christian, and interreligious theological education rooted in spiritual formation, intellectual exploration, and innovative congregational leadership. The school will work to realign its operational structures and educational vision to holistically form agile, justice-oriented leaders for the transformation of the church.

“Claremont School of Theology’s deep history of academic training and interfaith commitment provides a rich environment for students and scholars to make a difference in our communities and world,” said Bishop Grant Hagiya, resident bishop of the California-Pacific Conference and the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Ordained clergy and lay ministers have had to respond and adapt to a swiftly changing world and a dramatically changing church. These congregational leaders need traditional theological education and spiritual formation as well as formation in leadership, entrepreneurial problem-solving, and in equity, diversity, justice and belonging.

With this grant, Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata, retired bishop of Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church, explained, “CST would help usher in new generations of leaders that share a sense of responsibility, collective leadership, and urgency in our multicultural, interfaith world. I believe CST is greatly poised to help the church lead the change, thrive in its diverse contexts, and participate in God’s movement of healing, belonging and co-liberation for the world.”

CST’s project, titled “The Activating Change Project: Reinventing CST’s Operational Structures and Educational Vision to Educate Church Leaders for the Transformation of Congregations and Communities,” will lay out a three-year effort to redesign its educational strategies, institutional practices, and financial operating model, while relying on the ongoing and active participation of our administration, faculty, students, and alumni/ae and their congregations as it builds toward a sustainable future.
Reverend Lori Tapia, national pastor for Hispanic Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) affirmed, “CST has demonstrated tenacity and boldness in approaching the overwhelming challenges faced by the institutions of higher education, and yet, continue to pursue greatness in all they do, producing leaders who seek to bring about hope, justice and reconciliation.”
Lilly Endowment launched the Pathways Initiative in January 2021. It is a three-phase initiative designed to help theological schools prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face.



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