Pastors and faith leaders, are you looking for a way to ignite joy and find space for rest?

The Synod of Lincoln Trails is offering grants to help you restore your soul and regenerate your spirit.

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can be a tool to incite joy! Oasis grants of up to $1500 will be granted to individuals within the Synod of Lincoln Trails.  Funds must be expended within 18 months of the award being received.

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19)

SOLT wants to be a place of welcome and nourishment for pastors.  These Oasis grants will offer an opportunity for respite in the midst of the wilderness.  When wandering in the desert and spotting an oasis ahead, different people see different things.  Some people see a tent and pavilion and anticipate a chance to cool down and rest. Others see a pool, and look forward to fun.  Some see a palm tree and hope to reconnect with nature. Weary travelers may think what they see is a mirage.  This is not a mirage! The Oasis grant has something to speak to your need to pause and thrive.

Seeing the Oasis on the horizon offers hope and strength — something to look forward to and to keep you pressing onward.

Who is eligible? 

  • Pastors, Commissioned Pastors, Chaplains, and those in validated ministries as determined by their presbytery.
  • Those in active full-time or part-time ministry.
  • Priority will be given to Illinois participants. Those who have received Smock or similar grants in the last three years are not eligible until other applications have been reviewed.

What activities are funded? 

Anything that will enhance your mental health, spiritual health, and joy!  The grants are meant to promote personal flourishing.

Consider how you might use these funds to incite your own joy with learning, rest, retreat, or regenerative activities. What would make your heart sing? What would bring you joy? The parameters are wide. Funds are not intended for continuing education but might be used for a class in pottery or art. Grants are not meant to support sabbatical funding, but to allow you to do something new and life-giving. 

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly
    and rejoice with joy and shouting.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
    the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands
    and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
    “Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God. (Isaiah 35:1-4)

Want some ideas?

Consider these as a springboard to help you determine what would help bring joy to your inner being:

  • Creativity-based classes, such as art or cooking
  • Retreats that aren’t focused on ministry — like yoga, creative writing, or those focused on outdoor activities
  • Fishing or camping trip
  • Massages
  • Programs that help you learn a new skill — painting, gardening, music, tennis, pickle ball, dance, a new language
  • Tickets to a museum or performance
  • A new bed, with comfortable sheets and pillows
  • A road bike with helmet and lock — or an exercise bike or treadmill

What’s the timing?

Grant applications will be reviewed three times in the next year. The deadlines to submit your application are:

  • November 15, 2023
  • February 15, 2024
  • June 15, 2024

You will be notified two to three weeks after the deadline on the status of your application. Funds will be released within 30 days of receiving a completed tax form from awardees.

Each minister can only be awarded one Oasis grant.

Looking for other sources of funding?

Consider these:

  • Sabbatical Support Grants from the Board of Pensions.
  • Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs at Christian Theological Seminary.
  • College of Pastoral Leaders at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
  • Rest & Renewal Grant Program: Through a gift from the Frank and Laura Smock Foundation, the Presbyteries of Ohio Valley, Wabash Valley, and Whitewater Valley are able to offer a ‘Rest and Renewal Grant’ of up to $2,000 for ministers and commissioned pastors serving congregations in one of the presbyteries, as well as those serving as chaplains. Ordinarily, grants are to be used in the 2023 calendar year.To learn more, please contact your presbytery leader.

Have Questions?

This is not designed to bolster your continuing ed funds. We truly want to support you in finding an Oasis. It’s unlikely that you’ll be turned down.  But – if you want to discuss your idea or have questions, email us!



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