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Grant from the Lilly Endowment

NovusWay Ministries is excited to announce a grant of $1,250,000 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help develop a new program called bRIDGE. This initiative is a joint project between Pastors Sara and Drew Yoos of Lutheridge and Pastors Andrea and Kyle Bates of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Greenville, SC. The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children.


Pastors Sara and Drew Yoos                                           Pastors Andrea and Kyle Bates

Over the next five years, Lutheridge and St. Michael’s will work to pilot this initiative to extend the ministry of Lutheridge into homes and congregations by equipping parents and caregivers to be faith-forming “counselors” for their own children. It will include three components: an on-site retreat at Lutheridge, a monthly congregational gathering curriculum, and an at-home cabin time resource. Each will be full of camp style worship, games, discussion, songs, and activities. After the initial development and piloting stages, the benefits of this program will be shared with congregations, parents, and caregivers throughout the southeast.

Pastor Andrea Bates, as a former Lutheridge staff member, is thrilled about this project: “Each of us experienced transformation at Lutheridge as we were equipped and empowered to teach children about Jesus during our years on summer staff. We see the ways Lutheridge programs have enriched and invigorated faith for members of St. Michael’s across the lifespan. We can’t wait to see what will come when we focus even more energy on empowering parents and caregivers to be the spiritual ‘counselors’ for the children in their care!”


Lutheridge is grateful for the partnership with St. Michael’s and the generosity of Lilly Endowment for granting the opportunity to revolutionize Lutheridge programming and the future of outdoor ministry. The benefits of a week or weekend at camp has historically been limited to what happens “on site.” By developing this new program, Lutheridge will help bRIDGE the transformative faith experience of camp with congregations and homes. As we turn our attention towards celebrating our 75th anniversary on the mountain in 2025, we hope that this grant is a springboard into the next 75 years of ministry!


NovusWay Ministries strives to provide experiences for all people in God’s creation that inspire faith, build relationships, and transform lives. NovusWay includes four ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) camps in the southeast: Lutheridge and Lutherock in the mountains of western North Carolina, Luther Springs in Florida, and Lutheranch in west Georgia. Established in 1946, Lutheridge Camp and Conference Center is located near Asheville, North Carolina on 160-acres of scenic land. Led by trained counselors, campers engage with a fun and faith-filled community while building friendships, self-confidence, adventure, and spiritual growth. Lutheridge serves over 2,500 guests of all ages directly through summer and year-round programs, with an additional 10,000 served through hosted ministry.

To learn more about Lutheridge and NovusWay Ministries, visit www.NovusWay.org. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, NovusWay is supported by individuals, churches, and businesses whose tax-deductible contributions allow the ministry to keep registration costs lower than traditional summer camps and to provide scholarships to campers with limited means. Visit www.NovusWay.org/ways-to-give/ to learn how you can have a lasting impact on a camper’s life. Every gift makes a difference!

NovusWay is one of 77 organizations that are receiving grants through this competitive round of the initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic and Asian Christian traditions.

“We’ve heard from many parents who are seeking to nurture the spiritual lives of their children, especially in their daily activities, and looking to churches and other faith-based organizations for support,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These thoughtful, creative and collaborative organizations embrace the important role that families have in shaping the religious development of children and are launching programs to assist parents and caregivers with this task.”



Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting efforts to help individuals and families from diverse Christian communities draw more fully on the wisdom of Christian practices to live out their faith fully and well passing on a vibrant faith to a new generation.  


About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.