Chautauqua offers free stay to young Presbyterian ministers, families

Endowment underutilized due to lack of applicants

August 13, 2012

Miller Bell Tower at Chautauqua

The landmark Miller Bell Tower on the shore of Lake Chautauqua, home of the Chautauqua Institution —Courtesy of the Chautauqua Institution


Not enough young Presbyterian ministers and their families are taking advantage of an opportunity to spend a free week at the renowned Chautauqua Institution in New York.

Chautauqua Institution is a summer community located in southwestern New York State on the shores of Lake Chautauqua. It specializes in programs in the arts, religion and recreation, with some 2,200 events each summer for more than 170,000 guests. The 2013 summer season runs from June 22-Aug. 23. Each week's program is built around a particular theme.

Two donors have created the Kahelnberg and Philips Funds, which cover all expenses for the week, including gate passes, room and board, parking, Chautauqua’s Children’s School and Club and a variety of educational and recreational programs for the pastor and spouse.

The week at Chautauqua is valued at a minimum of $2,600 for a family of four.

“About $10,000 isn't spent,” said Presbyterian Chautauqua veteran Jim Mead of Cathedral City, Calif., “because we can't get candidates. It’s a shame because it’s such a great opportunity for young families.”

Applications for the Kahlenberg/Philips grants are available from Susan Vande Kappelle, 573 Franklin Farms Road, Washington, PA,  15301.

Applications for the summer 2013 Chautauqua season must be received by Oct. 15, 2012 Preference is given to those who have never been to Chautauqua and need. No pets are allowed.

Weekly themes next summer are: "Our Elegant Universe," June 22-28; "The Next Greatest Generation," June 29-July 5; "America 1863," July 6-12; "Markets and Morals: Reimagining the Social Contract," July 13-19; "The Pursuit of Happiness," July 20-26; "Crime and Punishment," July 27-Aug. 2; "Diplomacy," Aug. 3-9; "Turkey: Model for the Middle East? Aug. 10-16; and "Healthcare: Reform and Innovation," Aug. 17-23.        



  1. I am very interested in attending Chataqua with my family. Another Teaching Elder friend mentioned the scholarship but I cannot find it listed on the Chataqua website. This is the only place I have found mention of the scholarship. I also am wondering if there is an email, phone number, or anything besides postal mail for us to contact the person in charge of the scholarship. More information would be great please! Thank you!

    by Kally Elliott

    January 14, 2016

  2. I was privileged to be a leader/convener with the young pastors some years back. What a holistic and uplifting experience for the mind, emotions, body and spirit as one dips into the offerings and privilages of the Chautaqua Institution, and engages in dialogue with pers and resource people! Go for it!

    by Rev. Dr. John Sharick

    August 16, 2012

  3. I've looked into going in the past with my family. I did not know about this endowment. I want to take advantage of it for 2013. It will help us beat the heat of Texas summers.

    by Scott Nowack

    August 15, 2012

  4. As a young Presbyterian pastor who has actually looked to apply to this institute the past two summers, I might be able to help you understand why some aren't applying: both times I looked to apply, it appeared as if there was no provision for childcare whatsoever. Thanks for this article and clarification!

    by Rev. Le Anne Clausen de Montes

    August 14, 2012

  5. This sounds exciting. I've never heard of it before, and I've been in the ministry for 27 years. I guess that probably disqualifies me, but what is the definition of young? Also, what are the parameters for the need basis?

    by David McCann

    August 14, 2012

  6. Guess that leaves us old folks (who never heard the offer made) out of consideration?

    by Glen Hallead

    August 14, 2012

  7. Since each and every member of the church is a minister can I assume this is being extended to all young Presbyterians? If not, then how about young full-time church professionals?

    by Andrew Yeager-Buckley

    August 14, 2012

  8. Does Susan Vande Kappelle have an e-mail address?

    by Jason Clapper

    August 13, 2012

  9. Wow - you Presby's are light years in front of us RCA types...wish you could convince your Dutch Reformed neighbors to be as generous! Is there grace for someone in the Reformed family although not PCUSA???????

    by Rev. William Peake

    August 13, 2012

  10. I have nerver heard of this grant. The problem is that I am not young but retired and recovering from cancer. Is there a possibility for me in this progrm or is there a simalar program available for my circumstances?

    by Rev. Pauline Haynes

    August 13, 2012

  11. This is interesting. I've never been to Chautauqua, but I've heard good things, and at the urging of a church member, I applied more than a year ago. I got an email from the institute staff asking where I was serving at the time. I mentioned I had recently moved to a new congregation. I think that was the last I heard. My kids are now young adults. So I must be too old or maybe I make too much money as a Presbyterian pastor. :-)

    by Jeff Paschal

    August 13, 2012

  12. Can you please give more information as I have never heard about this. 1. Is there an electronic access to the application? 2. Do you have to be in a congregation or are other installed positions eligible? 3. What is young?

    by Shelly Barrick Parsons

    August 13, 2012