“During my pilgrimage to the churches in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, it was clear that a number of congregations needed small to medium capital improvements in order to expand their capacity for ministry, hospitality, and community engagement,” said Bishop Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez. Spurred by this insight, The Growth Development Fund (GDF) was created to address infrastructure problems that get in the way of ministry.
This year was the first in a five-year program where churches could apply for grants in amounts up to $30,000. “We all worked long hours reviewing hundreds of pages but it’s been extremely rewarding. We were given the chance to help churches improve facilities in ways they could not have imagined,” said Dave Dixon, a member of the review committee. “I left each meeting energized, and excited to continue the process.” Dixon was one of six lay people from the Diocesan Council, along with Canons Betsy Ivey and Doug Horner, who formed the review committee spending many hours to evaluate 47 grant applications and then make a recommendation to the Bishop.
GDF awards are made based on the urgency of the need and the potential impact on a congregation’s life and ministry. The Bishop approved this year’s distribution with the provision that the awarded churches complete the repair/renovation within a year of receiving the grant, and submit ‘before and after’ pictures of the repair/renovation.
Based on these criteria, the following 10 churches are each receiving grants in the amount of $30,000:
- Christ Church and St. Ambrose (Renovation of parish hall and church to expand services, community outreach and property rentals)
- Church of St. Alban, Roxborough (Repaving and expanding parking lot to increase outreach efforts)
- Church of St. James the Greater, Bristol (Replace parish hall roof to increase outreach to Bristol community)
- Church of the Holy Apostles and The Mediator (Upgrades to parish hall auditorium and kitchen, including addressing accessibility issues to enable more community outreach)
- Church of the Holy Trinity, West Chester (Installation of refrigerator and freezer to allow for restaurant training for un-/under-employed)
- Church of the Trinity, Coatesville (Renovation of kitchen to enable meal ministry to veterans and community in growing church)
- Gloria Dei Church (Upgrade to wiring in church, rectory and parish hall that allow for more pastoral counseling, informal meetings and educational opportunities)
- Holy Trinity Lansdale (Repairs to the roof for growth in ministry)
- House of Prayer (Interior/exterior repairs to 150 year-old church and parish hall to grow outreach to West Oak Lane community)
- St. Peter’s Church, Phoenixville (Installation of mechanical lift between church and parish hall to support growing meal ministry to elderly and disabled persons)
“We are building the church. The applications received were extraordinary and describe the great ministry occurring,” said Gutiérrez. Knowing need exists for many other churches, the Bishop is moving up the next year’s application date with disbursement by February 1, 2019.
The churches that did not receive grants in this first year are encouraged to resubmit their applications next year with the opportunity to adjust any necessary items. Those that have received grants through the program are not eligible to receive funds from this program again but may apply for other Diocesan grants.
Press Release also available here.