Duke Divinity School has received a five-year, $500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant will support the Duke Preaching Initiative, which includes several projects that explore new homiletical pedagogies to engage with the changing contexts in which preaching is learned.

The first project is a peer-learning program designed for Hispanic-Latino/a preachers in North Carolina. Offered in Spanish, the program will provide homiletical training for groups of pastors through monthly peer-group meetings. In addition, full tuition for a Hispanic-Latino/a Th.D. student in homiletics will be available beginning in the fall of 2016.

The second project will enable the digitization of over 1,000 recordings of Duke Chapel sermons from the 1950s to early 2000s. They will be added to the existing digital collection, Duke Chapel Recordings, which launched last year, and each recording will receive an enhanced description. In addition, the project will ensure the digitization of older sermon manuscripts. A website will also be developed to make the digitized sermons available for homiletical education. The website will provide pedagogical resources for using the sermons both in and beyond the classroom.

“I’m grateful for Lilly Endowment’s commitment to strengthening the quality of preaching,” said Charles Campbell, professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School. “This grant gives us the opportunity to explore new ways of teaching preaching in our changing demographic and educational context. Through peer-group learning and online resources, we hope to enrich homiletical training for both active pastors and seminary students, and we hope to discover ways we can more effectively and faithfully serve preachers beyond the divinity school classroom.” 

The grant will enhance the availability and preservation of preaching resources through a partnership between Duke Divinity School, Duke Chapel, and Duke University Archives, and is part of Lilly Endowment’s Initiative to Strengthen the Quality of Preaching. Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family—J. K. Lilly Sr. and sons J. K. Jr. and Eli—through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. In keeping with the wishes of the three founders, Lilly Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education, and community development. The Endowment affords special emphasis to projects that benefit young people and promote leadership education and financial self-sufficiency in the nonprofit, charitable sector.