Student Page: Meet the Lilly Community Fellows

Community_Come Build It With Us

Up to Full-Tuition plus $2,500 Housing Stipend


The original Christian community was formed within the matrix of shared life—both in its mission, worship, fellowship and persecution.  People continue to hunger for such community.  Many look to the church to satisfy that hunger.  What are the skills sets and culture that contribute to Christian community?

Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary has been awarded a grant from the Lilly Endowment to explore community life and its formation:

  • What is healthy community?
  • How do we build and maintain this community?
  • What is the role of leaders in the work of building and maintaining community?  
  • How do we equip people to be community-building leaders? 

This grant provides the opportunity to increase the capacity of students in the pastoral work of community-building.  To this end, we will establish an experimental student learning community of up to 8 students each year who will be awarded these fellowships and live together and use their experience of community living as a laboratory for reflection on the nature and community and its formation so that when they move into the ministerial workplace they can be more effective community leaders.  Our program draws on the 1,500-year Benedictine practice of coming together in community to seek God and live as disciples.  The results of this work will translate that practice to life outside the monastery, whether it be in parishes, small groups, intentional communities, virtual communities, or new communities outside existing structures.

Goals of the Program:

  • Students will grow in their understanding of community —
    • What defines community? How is it different from random associations?
    • What can I expect of the community? What can the community expect of me?
  • Students will grow in their ability to facilitate vibrant community life wherever they might find themselves.

Components of the Program:

  • Must apply to one of our full-time degree programs in order to be considered for a fellowship
  • First semester course requirement: Leadership and Community Life
  • Second semester field education practicum with a parish, campus ministry or non-traditional community 
  • Monthly meetings with house moderator
  • Monthly spiritual direction sessions
  • Master's degree program coursework

To Apply:

Interviews dates will be scheduled on a weekly basis until all fellowship positions are filled.


A $2,500 living stipend is included in the fellowships to offset the cost of on-campus housing.  The Lilly Community Fellows will reside together in Emmaus hall.

  • $2,500  Housing Stipend
  • 20% of tuition Lilly Research Award

Each Lilly Community Fellowship is awarded for one year. Students may apply for a scholarship and financial aid award package for the remainder of the program of study.

Graduate Admissions
Donelle Poling
[email protected]