Episcopal Church plants seeds for 34 new ministries

November 15, 2019 deadline for next round of grant funding
October 23, 2019

At its October meeting, the Episcopal Church Executive Council approved grants totaling $689,500 for new church starts and Mission Enterprise Zones.

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.

“We received 52 applications from aspiring new communities and missional enterprises throughout the Episcopal Church who are all passionately hearing God’s call to connect and minister with and to the diverse communities that our General Convention dreamed we would reach,” said the Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner, who co-chairs the task force with the Rt. Rev. Allen Shin. “With this first round of grant funding, we are delighted to propel the Jesus Movement forward as we empower lay and clergy leaders to meet new neighbors and welcome new perspectives in the communities they serve.”

Waggoner reports that of the 52 applications, the task force recommended and Executive Council approved full or partial funding of 34. The task force will offer feedback to the 17 ministries that did not receive funding during this first round, but who could be eligible in later rounds during the three-year funding cycle.

She also noted that members of the task force will now reach out to each diocese and applicant for a covenant conversation prior to any grant funds being disbursed. This conversation will include the point leader for the new ministry, the bishop, and diocesan fiscal agent. It 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.

“The church planting movement is good news for the whole church. These ministries offer a fresh proclamation of God's love to all our neighbors, and they inspire existing congregations to new hope and imagination about being church in our time,” said the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation and stewardship of creation.

Grants
The 34 initiatives approved include 12 Discernment Grants, 11 Seed Grants, 7 Growth Grants, and 4 Harvest Grants. The initiatives are listed below, by category. Recipients that received funding in a prior triennium are marked with an asterisk. 

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 $54,500: 

  • Bethany House and Gardens (Episcopal Diocese of Kansas) - $2,500
  • Between the Bridges (Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast) - $5,000
  • Freeport Way of Love (Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast) - $5,000
  • German Language Communities in Europe (Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe) - $5,000
  • Holy Hikes for Green Bay (Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac) - $5,000
  • Iglesia Episcopal de San Pablo (Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts) - $5,000
  • Life Together (Episcopal Diocese of New York) - $5,000
  • Mother of the Savior (Episcopal Diocese of Michigan) - $5,000
  • Rathbone Migrant Ministry (Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts) - $2,000
  • Saint James* (Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburg) - $5,000
  • San Cornelio (Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas) - $5,000
  • The Playground (Episcopal Diocese of Northern California) - $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 $280,000:

  • Abundant Life Health & Wellness (Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina) - $30,000
  • All Souls Episcopal Church (Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida) - $20,000
  • Church of the Beloved (Episcopal Diocese of Oregon) - $30,000
  • CRECHE (Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts) - $30,000
  • Mission Walk (Episcopal Diocese of New York) - $30,000
  • RISE (Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania) - $30,000
  • San Marco (Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real) - $30,000
  • St. Nicholas (Episcopal Diocese of West Texas) - $30,000
  • The Gathering (Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles) - $20,000
  • The Way Station (Episcopal Diocese of Iowa) - $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 $225,000:

  • Center for Mission and Ministry* (Episcopal Diocese of Kansas) - $30,000
  • Church at the Crossroads* (Episcopal Diocese of Michigan) - $30,000
  • Misa Magdalena* (Episcopal Diocese of Washington) - $30,000
  • Plainsong Farm* (Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan) - $30,000
  • Resurrection Church* (Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania) - $30,000
  • St. Luke’s, North Park* (Episcopal Diocese of San Diego) - $30,000
  • Stepping Stone* (Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real) - $30,000
  • Teens of Santa Cruz County* (Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real) - $15,000

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 $130,000: 

  • Chaplains on the Harbor* (Episcopal Diocese of Olympia) - $30,000
  • Christ’s Beloved Community* (Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina) - $40,000
  • Good Samaritan Episcopal Church (Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis)* - $40,000
  • Table 229* (Episcopal Church in Minnesota) - $20,000

Next deadline
The next deadlines for grant submissions are November 15, 2019, February 15, 2020 and July 15, 2020. Application, guidelines and information are available here.