Coordination Program

L e a d e r s h i p


The coordination program is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.    and administered by the Center for Congregations.

Elise Erikson Barrett

Coordination Program Director

Elise Erikson Barrett serves as Coordination Program Director for the Initiative. A former ordained United Methodist pastor, she served churches in South Carolina as both a pastor and a pastor's spouse. Her current household includes persons worshiping with the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the ELCA, and one of her favorite things about this work is experiencing the goodness of diverse parts of God's family working in community on these common challenges. Elise holds degrees from Hanover College (BA, Economics) and Duke Divinity School (MDiv), and she is pursuing a doctorate in American Studies at IUPUI.


Rick Foss

Coordination Program Co-Director

Richard (“Rick”) Foss serves as Coordination Program Co-Director. He served as the interim president of Luther Seminary from December 2012 – May 2014. He came to Luther Seminary as director of Contextual Learning in 2008. Previously, he served as bishop for the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a position he held since 1992. Rick holds degrees from St. Olaf College (BA) and Luther Seminary (MDiv and MTh). Prior to serving as bishop, he served for 21 years as senior pastor in congregations in Minnesota, Washington, and North Dakota. In 1995 he was named as one of three finalists for presiding bishop of the ELCA.

Karen Stone

Coordination Program Event Manager

Karen Stone serves as the event manager of the Coordination Program for this initiative. Prior to joining the Coordination Program, Karen served as the Program Manager at Lake Institute on Faith & Giving. Karen has 15 years experience in event management and meeting design. She has worked with diverse audiences and religious institutions across the theological spectrum planning conferences, lectures, seminars, board meetings, receptions, and more. Karen is a native to Indianapolis and holds degrees from Purdue University (BA and MA) in Community Relations.



Center for Congregations

Rev. Timothy Shapiro, President

Tim is the Indianapolis Center's president. He began serving the Center in 2003 after 18 years in pastoral ministry. For 14 years, Tim served Westminster Presbyterian Church in Xenia, Ohio. Prior to his pastorate at Westminster, he was pastor of Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in Logansport, Indiana. He holds degrees from Purdue University and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Tim's interest in how congregations learn to do new things is represented in his book How Your Congregation Learns. After his extensive work on the Center's Sacred Space initiative, Tim co-authored the book Holy Places: Matching Sacred Space with Mission and Message. 

Center for Congregations

Susan Weber,

Director of the Evaluation & Communication Project

Susan directs the Evaluation Project for the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc. In that capacity she works directly with grantees in helping them create evaluation plans and processes for the purpose of improving and sustaining their grant programs. She spent several years as the Center's director of evaluation and congregational learning, as well as a resource consultant to congregations. Prior to her work at the Center, she served the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as coordinator of boards of education, Office of Catholic Education. She has served as an independent consultant and group facilitator for dioceses, churches, religious communities, and schools nationwide. Sue has degrees from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College (B.S., Humanities) and Indiana University, Bloomington (M.S., Adult Education) and is professionally certified as a group facilitator through Indiana University. She is certified through Case Western University in the use of Appreciative Inquiry both in evaluation and in strategic planning.