ABHMS announces availability of debt-relief grants for eligible American Baptist clergy

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 01/29/2024)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is pleased to announce the availability of up to 40 debt-relief grants of $5,000 to American Baptist pastors who engage in financial literacy education and have not previously received such a grant from ABHMS. Grant recipients can use these taxable funds toward relief from consumer, medical, student loan or other personal debt identified in their grant applications.

Ordained, licensed and lay pastors working in any capacity—including as senior, associate, youth or bi-vocational pastors—are eligible to apply. Other eligibility requirements are current service to an American Baptist congregation and completion of one of three financial education courses, which must occur before the release of grant funds.

Jennifer Sanborn, national coordinator for Learning Initiatives in the CCL, identifies the finance course options on offer through the CCL in 2024:

  • Holy Currencies for Leaders, a 6-week Lenten study on 6 “blessings” of the church on Mondays, noon to 1 p.m. ET, February 12 through March 18.
  • Starting the Money Conversation, consisting of a 3-week money tools course on Wednesdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET, April 17 through May 1, and one on-demand course in the Faithful Finance series.
  • Foundations for Faithful Finance, a 6-week course in money personalities, stories, values and financial systems, on Thursdays, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. ET, September 5 through October 10.

Sanborn says that grant recipients will be selected from the pool of applicants based on the quality of their application responses, with priority being given to pastors whose finances have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application window is open now until February 9, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET. Only timely applications submitted electronically using this form will be accepted.

“I continue to receive celebratory emails and calls from pastors who have been impacted by the debt relief grants coupled with this financial literacy training,” said Sanborn, who in addition to her work in continuing education has directed ABHMS programs funded by grants from the Lilly Endowment Inc. “Talking openly about money in their households and congregations has been freeing, and they are more confident to seek individual financial counseling and expertise from ministry partners like MMBB and their regions.”

Since 2016, ABHMS has provided financial education and more than $650,000 in direct grants for personal debt relief to clergy seeking economic well-being for themselves and to guide their congregants toward a similar goal. This work has been possible due to three significant grants to ABHMS from the Lilly Endowment Inc

To learn more about the Ministerial Excellence Fund Grants program, contact Sanborn at jennifer.sanborn@abhms.org. For more details about the CCL’s finance education offerings or other continuing education courses, visit ccl.abhms.org or contact ccl@abhms.org.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.