Episcopal Church ready for next wave of growth through new church plant grants

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
Posted Apr 26, 2019

The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on Church Planting and Congregational Redevelopment announced today that its first set of grants for New Episcopal Communities are now available for Episcopal dioceses and mission developers who are envisioning, planning, or growing new worshipping communities and missional enterprises throughout the church. The grants are part of a $2,500,000 initiative funded by the General Convention in 2018 that seeks to celebrate and strategically support emerging communities in The Episcopal Church and that builds partnerships within and beyond the church, expands our language of ministry, and creates new ways for the church to engage the people of God.

“Building upon the successes of our 89 new congregations and missional enterprises over the last few years, we are eager to help The Episcopal Church take the next step forward through this new round of grant funding,” said the Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner, the Task Force’s chairperson. “We are ready to help our dioceses and planters continue the Jesus Movement through specific grants that are targeted for each phase of new ministry development.”

Four categories of grants are now available to new Episcopal communities:

  • Discernment Grants of up to $5,000. These one-time grants are for people discerning a call to start a new ministry. Funds can be used for assessment, research and feasibility studies.
  • Seed Grants of up to $30,000 to begin a new ministry, which assist with start-up costs and initial operating expenses of an experimental new ministry after a discernment period is completed and a ministry plan is developed. No matching funds are needed for these grants.
  • Growth Grants of up to $30,000 to assist in deeper and fuller development of new ministries as they meet the goals of their ministry plan established in the Discernment and Seed grant phases on their way to sustainability and health. These grants require a dollar-for-dollar match or other in-kind support provided by the combined contributions of the partner congregation and/or diocese.
  • Harvest Grants of up to $40,000 to assist ministries with potential for long-term growth in building capacity and in promoting sustainability beyond grants. These grants require a dollar-for-dollar match or other in-kind support provided by the combined contributions of the partner congregation and/or diocese.

“We’ve learned so much from our community of planters and thriving new congregations and mission enterprise zones over the past three years of new ministry development,” said the Rev. Thomas Brackett, The Episcopal Church manager for church planting and redevelopment. “This new round of grants provides the church with what we believe to be the best tools for a nimble, flexible, responsible grant-making structure that promotes growth, accountability, and creativity.”

Grants may be used to develop or strengthen new worshipping communities or enterprise-based ministries, not in the relaunching or development of an existing ministry. Church plants and new congregations may assume traditional or innovative forms, but their primary gathering point is around word and sacrament, out of which their ministry flows. Mission Enterprise Zones primarily gather around ministries of service, justice, and mercy with communities of a particular demographic. They are experimental in nature and may be designed to run for a limited amount of time.

The principal leader or mission developer of any new ministry must take part in a mutual discernment and assessment process before grant applications can be considered. Mission developers must also receive regular coaching by an International Coaching Federation licensed or trained coach.

The deadline for the first round of grant applications is July 15, 2019; applications will then will be accepted afterwards on rolling basis through the end of the current ministry triennium in 2021.

For more information, or to apply for a grant, visit https://www.episcopalchurch.org/church-planting-and-missional-development.