Gloria Dei Receives Prestigious Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Foundation

A Note from Pastor Charles: I have some really great news to announce! Our congregation has been awarded a Lily Foundation grant of $44,000, for the support of a three month sabbatical for Pastor Dave in 2019. I have known many pastors who have applied for a grant and Dave is the first one that has actually gotten the grant. Congratulations to Pastor Dave! Well done! We’ll hear more about this as Dave’s sabbatical nears, but here is a bit more information about the grant.

 Pastor Dave Berg

Pastor Dave Berg

In response to Gloria Dei’s innovative, forward looking mission and ministry, the Indianapolis, Indiana based Lilly Foundation has awarded our congregation a $44,000 grant to support a three month sabbatical for Pastor Dave in 2019.  Lilly Grants seek to strengthen Christian congregations by providing opportunities for pastors to step away from the persistent obligations of congregational life and engage in a period of renewal and reflection. The funding decision came in part because of Gloria Dei’s unique emphasis on “Research and Development,” and our desire to explore what the church of the future looks like today. The funds will be used to support Dave’s travels and study as well as financially cover congregational staffing and some programming in his absence.

With the support and advising of the congregational council, Pastor Dave wrote the grant to specifically fund a time of renewal that will have an emphasis on exploring Celtic Christian spirituality. With its emphasis on creation spirituality and original blessing among other ideas, Dave believes that some of the core attributes of the age old Celtic Christian tradition have much to teach us today. He will spend some time in Iona, Scotland studying and touring the home of the Celtic church. He will also learn from noted theologian John Philip Newall at the New England School of Celtic Consciousness in Madison, Connecticut. In addition, Dave will take time over the three months to write, read, travel and enjoy some down time with Robyn and the girls. The sabbatical will begin with a sendoff lunch on Sunday, April 28, 2019 and welcome back lunch on Sunday, August 4, 2019. While he is away, there will also be opportunities for the congregation to study the idea of Sabbath, as well as a deeper dive into Celtic Christian Spirituality.

The Lilly Foundation Grant is yet another place where people outside of our immediate community are leaning in and excited by our work and ministry at Gloria Dei. These are indeed exciting times to be the church, and with the help of this funding, we can continue to discover where God might be leading us.  


New! The Table Worship Experience

New! The Table Worship Experience

Sundays Sept-May: 8:45am in Sanctuary

The Table is the newest version of our 8:45am worship opportunity in the Sanctuary. The Gloria Dei staff and a host of volunteers have been hard at work crafting an experience rooted in our rich liturgical tradition that is fresh and inviting every week. Our weekly offering will include diverse leadership from pastors, worship assistants and cantors, and we will explore a variety of musical styles and dynamic messages grounded in the the gospel.


To create an open environment, we’ve made some changes to the space in the Sanctuary. Our baptismal font sits at the back of the space to create a feeling of welcoming and a reminder that you are loved when you enter, and a reminder of who you are when you leave.


A Kid’s Corner is set up in the front of the Sanctuary as a place for children and their families to engage in creativity and expression during worship and as a reminder of the wonder we can learn from them in our everyday lives.



We are excited to offer this new worship experience. We know you and your friends and family will enjoy it too!

Notes on The Youth Gathering - By Carrie and D.J.

Worship at The Gathering
By Pastor Carrie

Every night of the National Youth Gathering, we piled into NRG Stadium with the over 31,000 other youth and adults for Mass Gathering, a kind of worship service to end the day.

Each night would always start with a great D.J. making sure that even though it was the end of the day, we were pumped up and ready. After we danced and got re-energized, we would settle in for speakers who bravely shared their stories every night. We would hear from about five people each night that came from a variety of backgrounds spanning age, race, gender, culture, etc.

  • We heard about following God’s call from Reverend Tuhina Rasche, a Lutheran pastor who grew up Hindu.

  • We heard from military chaplains, deacons, and bishops. You could hear a pin drop in that giant stadium as we heard young people share their stories of addiction, eating disorders, and sexual assault.

  • We heard from Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber, learning that “...there’s a word for when our tears turn into joy, there’s a word for when our own pain is a balm for those who also hurt, there's a word for when our failings are redeemed into something beautiful, and that word, my Lutheran friends, is grace.”

  • We heard from a young transgender girl and her mother speak about how young people can be the hope of the church and all people.

Our youth were challenged, encouraged, and inspired to go out into the world as their authentic selves.

Between speakers, we witnessed a variety of music and arts. We were led into singing by a house band every night, rapped along with Agape, and crooned with Rachel Kurtz. We heard from a marching band. We got to participate in a full-on rock concert as Tenth Avenue North closed out a night belting out songs about redemption. We watched dancers twirl with lighted capes and express a physical manifestation of their prayers. The crowd lit up the stadium with cell phone lights, and we even started the trend of lighting up water bottles with flashlights, watching with glee as this phenomenon was spread from section to section.

In short, Mass Gathering was a time where we learned that we are loved for exactly who we are, that we are all God’s beloved children, and that we can all have an incredible influence on this world. It was a delight to watch as our youth took these things to heart, and I am excited to see where God leads them.

 Our Youth spending time at the Mass Gathering. 

Our Youth spending time at the Mass Gathering. 

A few Houston Hiccups faced with positivity from our Youth
By D.J. Chatelaine (Youth Coordinator)

“Houston: we have a problem.” One of the most-quoted movie lines of all time, this reference from Apollo 13 reflects upon our time in Texas. When you’ve got bus problems on the way to and from the Gathering, “Houston: we have a problem.” When you wait in a long line for 2 hours in the scorching heat to get into NRG Stadium for the opening night Mass Gathering, “Houston: we have a problem.”

Yet, for all the problems we faced, the kids and adult leaders were there to roll with them. What’s more, our flexibility turned frustration into laughter and helped us make the most of our time, whether it was lounging in the Texas-shaped lazy river, playing multiple games of floor hockey, learning from our siblings in Christ who were there to share their stories and vocations at various booths and events in the Interactive Learning Center, or by getting the best tacos any of us have ever eaten (beef tongue is worth a try).

As this was my first meaningful time spent with the kids, I was impressed with their maturity in dealing with our problems and willingness to engage in all the Gathering experience had to offer. In doing so, they modeled a Mass Gathering idea that “God’s Grace Changes Everything.” Having the patience to trust things would work out in time, they had a grace-filled outlook, in thanking stadium workers, partnering with a Virginia Beach Church and the staff at Kashmere High School on our service day, and really not complaining about any of the hiccups that occurred. Knowing things wouldn’t be perfect, they showed that when we do have a problem, God’s Grace is there to not only get us through, but to also impact our neighbors in ways we could not imagine.

 DJ and our high school youth hanging out in the Interactive Learning Center.  

DJ and our high school youth hanging out in the Interactive Learning Center.