At its October meeting, The Episcopal Church Executive Council approved grants totaling $365,000 for new church starts and missional communities.
Resolutions A005 and A032 approved by General Convention in 2018 authorized the Task Force on Church Planting and Congregational Redevelopment to solicit and recommend grants for new and continued funding for new worshipping communities and missional enterprise ventures throughout The Episcopal Church. The resolutions particularly call on these new communities to connect with under-represented groups, including youth and young adults, differently abled persons, people identifying as members of LGBTQIA+ communities, people of color, poor and working-class people, people with a high-school diploma or less, and/or people with little or no church background or involvement.
“In the midst of the pandemic, it is a deep joy to be able to support new Episcopal ministries that are beacons of hope in the communities they serve,” said the Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner, who co-chairs the Task Force with the Rt. Rev. Allen Shin. “Please join the members of the Task Force in upholding these ministries in prayer.”
Waggoner reports that of the 13 applications, the Task Force recommended and Executive Council approved full or partial funding of 11. The Task Force will offer feedback to the two ministries that did not receive funding during this third round, but who could be eligible in later rounds during the three-year funding cycle. She also noted that recipients engage in a covenant conversation with the Task Force prior to any grant funds being disbursed. This conversation includes the point leader for the new ministry, the bishop and diocesan fiscal agent, and is a time to discuss expectations for the new ministry, resources and support, and methods for mutual accountability between the ministry developer and the diocese.
“It’s encouraging to see that our new ministry leaders remain enthusiastic, creative and effective in this moment when the pandemic is testing all of our energy. These new communities have much to teach the wider church about living missionally and working through challenging times,” said the Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers, staff officer for Church Planting for The Episcopal Church.
The 11 initiatives approved include three seed grants, four growth grants, and four harvest grants. The initiatives are listed below, by category. There were no discernment grants awarded in this round.
One-time seed grants fund initiatives that have gone through project discernment, including assessment and coaching. The maximum award in this category is $30,000. The following applicants were awarded seed grants, totaling $90,000.
- 4 Saints Food Pantry – Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth – $30,000
- Beloved Community Outreach Center of Mobile – Episcopal Diocese of Central Gulf Coast – $30,000
- Gathering on Main Street – Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth – $30,000
Growth grants fund initiatives that have gone through project discernment, including assessment and coaching and have demonstrated real progress in completing the process set forth in their Ministry Plan. These grants require significant and appropriate support from the local diocese. The maximum award in this category is $30,000. The following applicants were awarded Growth Grants, totaling $120,000:
- Abundant Life Community – Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina – $30,000
- The Gathering – Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles – $30,000
- Resurrection Plano – Episcopal Diocese of Dallas – $30,000
- The Way Station – Episcopal Diocese of Iowa – $30,000
Harvest grants fund initiatives at least two years into their project. These initiatives have gone through project discernment, including assessment and coaching and have demonstrated real progress in completing the process set forth in their ministry plan and have a plan towards sustainability. These grants require significant and appropriate support from the local diocese. The maximum award in this category is $40,000. The following applicants were awarded Harvest Grants, totaling $155,000:
- Christ’s Beloved Community – Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina – $40,000
- Church at Crossroads – Episcopal Diocese of Michigan – $35,000
- Good Samaritan Episcopal Church – Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis – $40,000
- Stepping Stones – Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real – $40,000
The future deadlines for grant submissions is February 15, 2021. Application, guidelines and information are available here.