Teaching, Preaching, and Modeling Faith and Giving

Teaching, Preaching, and Modeling Faith and Giving

July 09, 2014 by jga_admin

Last week a long-time friend of JGA began a new segment of his life’s journey. On July 1st Rev. William G. (Bill) Enright turned over the reins of his role as the Karen Lake Buttrey Director of the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving to Dr. David King.

For ten years Bill skillfully led the Lake Institute, part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He will continue to be involved with the Lake Institute in a lesser role as senior fellow, allowing him to spend more time with Edie, his wife of 55 years, and their beloved children and grandchildren.

JGA and Bill began twenty years of common work and friendship when Bill served as senior pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis prior to his coming to the Lake Institute. Second Presbyterian, in fact, was JGA’s first client. Don Johnson, JGA’s co-founder with Ted Grossnickle, worked closely with Bill during the firm’s early years. Since then other JGA consultants have had the privilege of working with and learning from Bill.

Over the years Bill has taught, preached and modeled what it means to be a philanthropist. For Bill, philanthropy is not just “love for humanity.” It’s also “giving for the flourishing of humanity.” In his eyes, and in his words,

“Everything we have and are is the gift of a generous and gracious God . . . [our] ingrained desire to give back is rooted in a radical sense of the grace and love of God, be it conscious or unconscious.”[1]

Recognizing everything as gift leads to gratitude, which prompts giving and a sense of responsibility for the well-being of others.

Bill’s greatest impact nationally has come from his work with the Lake Institute. There he has led an exploration of the relationship between faith and giving across various religious traditions. As Mike Redmond states in his article, “Money and Faith: William G. Enright and the Big American Taboo” (Faith and Leadership),

“. . . Enright has helped transform the conversation nationally about congregations, faith and giving. Bringing together experts in both pastoral ministry and academic research, Enright and the Lake Institute have fundamentally changed the way many local congregations think and talk about money. Rather than being about internal church matters such as furnace repair and roofing estimates, ‘money talk’ in those congregations is now about treasure – treasure that can strengthen religious commitments and create health, love and care for others in a hurting world.”[2]

Bill Enright has been and continues to be a gift – a blessing – to many people in Peoria (where he grew up), Chicago (where he served in his early years as a Presbyterian pastor), Indianapolis (where he continues to live and work and inspire), and in many places well beyond these localities.

This wise, gracious, and compassionate pastor/mentor/teacher/leader has faithfully talked and walked the path of philanthropy. All of us at JGA are grateful for the opportunity we have had to accompany him for part of that journey and are happy to wish him, “Ad multos annos!”

[1] William G. Enright, “The Altered Landscape of Religious Giving”, ATS Colloquy, Spring 2008

[2] Mike Redmond, “Money and faith: William G. Enright and big American taboo”, Faith & Leadership, online magazine of Leadership Education at Duke University, January 24, 2014.