[August 3, 2020] At its June meeting, The Episcopal Church Executive Council approved grants totaling $213,551 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.
“With this third round of grant funding, we are delighted to continue the work of the Jesus Movement at a time when the world needs healing and reconciling communities more than ever,” said the Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner, who co-chairs the Task Force with the Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, Episcopal Diocese of New York. “These ministries are on the front lines, creating disciples who share the Way of Love even as they respond to COVID-19 and work to dismantle the systemic racism that threatens our communities, neighbors, friends, and family. It is a joy to see our new Episcopal communities making new disciples and gathering people in creative ways, even in the midst of pandemic.”
Waggoner reports that of the 17 applications, the Task Force recommended and Executive Council approved full or partial funding of 10. The Task Force will offer feedback to the seven 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 task force’s point leader for the new ministry as well as their bishop, and diocesan fiscal agent. This 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.
“As two pandemics rock our country, new Episcopal communities have much to teach the rest of us about adaptability and resilience. This is the moment to double down on financial and other support of faithful, innovative, risk-taking communities,” said the Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers, staff officer for Church Planting for The Episcopal Church.
The 10 initiatives approved include three discernment grants, five seed grants, one growth grant, and one harvest grant. The initiatives are listed below, by category.
One-time Discernment Grants fund initiatives in discernment for a new project start and may fund assessment, research, and feasibility studies. The maximum award in this category is $5,000. The following applicants were awarded Discernment Grants, totaling $15,000:
- Episcopal Mission of Bedford/Amherst, Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire – $5,000
- Llamados para Misión, Episcopal Diocese of Cuba – $5,000
- Urbana Maryland, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland – $5,000
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 $138,551:
- Creator’s Table, Episcopal Diocese of Spokane – $30,000
- Episcopal Mission of Franklin, Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire – $18,551
- Halau Wa’a, Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii – $30,000
- Mother of the Savior, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan – $30,000
- The Benedictine Way, Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska – $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 $20,000:
- Bridges Re-Entry, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona – $20,000
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 $40,000:
- Chaplains on the Harbor, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia – $40,000
Image: Markus Spiske/Unsplash