Skip to content

Fuller Seminary Receives $1.25M Gift for innovative children’s worship program from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Fuller Seminary is pleased to announce that it has received a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts develop new programming to help support the religious and spiritual formation of children.

Lilly Endowment is funding the program through its Nurturing Children Through Worship and Prayer Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is to support faith-based organizations as they help children grow in faith and deepen their relationships with God.

The grant term for the Brehm Center’s Imagining Worship with Children proposal will be four years, and will enable the Brehm Center to reach and serve churches, pastors, and families nationwide through the development of art-based resources to incorporate children more fully into the worship life of congregations. Brehm Center will work with a team of pastors, educators, theologians, psychologists and artists to develop resources for children focused on 12 spiritual disciplines. These arts-based resources will explore worship, solitude, simplicity, service and patience, among others. The Brehm Center also will work with other schools and centers at Fuller to produce resources on children’s faith formation for congregations and families that incorporate multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-generational values and approaches.

“This is a new inroad for serving worship pastors all over the United States, and for serving with and for children—the future of Christian worshiping communities,” said Shannon Sigler, Brehm Center’s executive director.

Edwin Willmington, former director of Brehm Music: A Fred Bock Initiative, will serve as grant director. The Brehm Center also will add a project manager to help administer the grant programming.

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $32 million in grants through this invitational round of the Nurturing Children initiative. The grants are funding efforts to help organizations develop new and/or enhance existing programs that support congregations as they design worship services and prayer practices that more intentionally and fully engage children.

The Brehm Center is one of 26 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent and serve congregations in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, including mainline Protestant,
evangelical, Catholic, Pentecostal, Black church, Hispanic and Asian traditions. Many organizations also serve churches that describe themselves as nondenominational, ecumenical and multi-denominational. Lilly Endowment launched the Nurturing Children initiative in 2022 as part of its commitment to support efforts that strengthen the religious education and formation of children and enhance the vitality of Christian congregations.


The Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts is housed inside Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. It includes Brehm Film, Brehm Preaching, Brehm Visual Art, and Brehm Music. These initiatives collaborate together seamlessly to support the flourishing of artists, pastors, and students as they integrate their call to faith and their love for the arts—ultimately for the renewal of church and culture worldwide. Learn more at


Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment 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.