Members of the Domestic Missionary Partnership (DMP) met September 5-9 in Boulder City, Nevada, to share information about new ministry projects, learn about the reorganization of the Episcopal Church Center and distribute grants.
DMP was formed in 1997 by several of the member dioceses of the former Coalition 14, which had its roots in the early 1970s when dioceses supported by the Episcopal Church banded together to change the way funds were distributed. DMP's current members are the dioceses of Alaska, Arizona, Eastern Oregon, Eau Claire, Idaho, Mississippi, Navajoland Area Mission, Nevada, North Dakota, Utah, and Western Kansas.
Among the grants distributed at this year's meeting, $5,000 was designated to help sponsor an expanded conference to investigate how DMP might collaborate with similar networks, such as the Living Stones Diocesan Partnership, and explore the possibility of holding a joint conference in association with the Episcopal Church's office for small-membership churches.
"This is a very exciting and wonderful way to share wisdom and learn from the context of their work with each other, and to find new ways to mutually support one another," said the Rev. Melford Holland, coordinator in the Office of Ministry Development, who offered a workshop on clergy and lay leadership.
The process for awarding grants was reviewed after Western Kansas Bishop Jim Adams related he "had no hard feelings" but reminded the group that "last year you granted us nothing. You need to know that caused a ripple" of negative economic impacts on the diocese's plans to become financially self-sufficient.
Adams noted the small and rural diocese had historically received base budget support from the national church.
Eau Claire Bishop Keith Whitmore noted that each diocesan member of DMP can submit requests for mission grants, which are funded through DMP by the national church. Those requests for next year totaled $254,623. It was announced at the meeting that only $147,004 was available.
Diocesan representatives met in small groups and trimmed their requests where possible. Those revised requests, along with other revisions in the DMP budget approved by the Executive Committee, amounted to $189,299.
Whitmore noted that the DMP Executive Committee might have to take additional action in reducing the grants later in the year.
Mission grants approved by DMP went to:
- The Diocese of Alaska for a program to fund workshops and networking to move women into leadership roles; $15,000
- The Diocese of Central New York to fund introducing an Appreciate Inquiry design plan at the 2008 diocesan convention, and thereby help parishes "dream about how they can live into mission"; $9,000
- Trinity Memorial Church in Binghamton, New York, Diocese of Central New York, for an after school program providing a safe environment for at-risk children between the ages of 14-18; $12,000
- The Diocese of Eastern Oregon, for continuing education in faith based reconciliation, to develop leadership training for parishes and a program to bring seminarians into rural settings during the summer; $11,000
- St. Alban's Church, Spooner, Wisconsin, Diocese of Eau Claire, to develop and operate a Crop Walk; $2,000
- The Diocese of Eau Claire for developing a deacon formation academy; $3,000
- Christ Church, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Diocese of Eau Claire, for mission work in Haiti; $18,000
- St. Stephen's in the Fields, San Jose, California, Diocese of El Camino Real, for promotion and programs at a new 5 p.m. praise service on Saturdays; $10,000
- The Diocese of Idaho to help develop a process that incorporates Appreciate Inquiry into the search process for a new bishop; $15,000
- Navajoland Area Mission to fund a meeting with Alaskan natives and Navajo in 2008 and to explore the possibility of on-going partnership and programs; $13,200
- St. Catherine of Siena in Reno, Nevada, Diocese of Nevada, for planting a new church in Reno; $20,000
- The Diocese of North Dakota for ministry with Sudanese congregations in the diocese; $29,700
- All Saints Episcopal Church in Pratt, Kansas, Diocese of Western Kansas for sundries pantry to provide free toiletries and other items to those in need; $1,200
- St. Francis Academy in the Diocese of Western Kansas for a creative arts therapy program; $15,000
Next year's meeting will be held September 17-21 at the Duncan Gray Center in Canton, Mississippi.