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Whitworth Receives Lilly Endowment Grant for Formed in Faith Initiative


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Whitworth Receives Lilly Endowment Grant for Formed in Faith Initiative

News Brief | FāVS News

Whitworth University received a grant of more than $1.2 million from Lilly Endowment to help establish the Formed in Faith project. 

Operated by the Whitworth Office of Church Engagement, the program aims to draw parents and churches together to investigate parenting as a site of intentional discipleship.

This formation of parents and caregivers is intended to equip them to practice vibrant faith alongside their young children (0-5 years) to intentionally disciple them as Christians.

Over the next five years, the project team will gather children’s ministry leaders, parents and children from around the Spokane region to engage in intentional gatherings. These meetings will experiment with new models of developmentally appropriate learning and explore new ways of knowing and experiencing God alongside children. 

The program will recruit 6-10 churches to participate in a cohort engaged in deep, intentional work with families in their congregations. They will gather children’s ministers monthly for shared learning, fellowship and experimentation.

Benefit to Spokane Churches

Churches and children’s ministry leaders will benefit from the expertise of Whitworth faculty consultants throughout the program.

lauren hunter
Lauren Hunter, Associate Director for Summer Fellows & Resilient Church / Whitworth Office of Church Engagement

“So often we see children as in a ‘temporary’ stage until they become adults. This extends to how we see, honor and treat them when it comes to faith formation,” project director Lauren Hunter says. “This project excites me because we believe attending to our young children as co-image bearers of God will change not only children but lead to the transformation of the entire church as we experience God in new ways together.”

The project also aims to be attentive to the growing population of Slavic families in Spokane. The church cohort will recruit English- and Slavic-speaking churches for participation. The OCE is seeking a Slavic ministry leader to join the project’s leadership team. 

Whitworth University is one of 77 organizations that received a Lilly Endowment grant through their Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative.

Parents or caregivers can learn more about resources to help their journey of passing faith on to children here. Churches interested in the Formed in Faith Project can find more information here

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Cassy Benefield
Cassy Benefield
Cassy (pronounced like Cassie but spelled with a 'y') Benefield is a wife and mother, a writer and photographer and a huge fan of non-fiction. She has traveled all her life, first as an Army brat. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer (2004-2006) to Romania where she mainly taught Conversational English. She received her bachelor’s in journalism from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo, California. She finds much comfort in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and considers herself a religion nerd who is prone to buy more books, on nearly any topic, than she is ever able to read. She is the associate editor of FāVS.News.

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