Executive Council awards Episcopal Church Evangelism Grants
The Episcopal Church Executive Council, at its January meeting in Linthicum Heights, MD, approved the recipients of 15 Evangelism Grants, totaling $37,450. The new Episcopal Evangelism Grants Program is designed to fund local and regional evangelism efforts in the Episcopal Church.
“This program will encourage our whole Church to share resources, catalyze imagination, and ultimately cultivate a network of evangelists who can learn from each other and connect with each other,” explained the Rev. Canon Susan Brown Snook, Chair of both the Episcopal Evangelism Grants Committee and the Executive Council Committee on Local Mission and Ministry.
The Episcopal Evangelism Grants program is coordinated by the Local Mission and Ministry Committee in collaboration with the Episcopal Church's Evangelism Initiatives Team.
“Evangelism isn’t some scary practice only ‘other’ Christians do,” said the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care, and a member of the Grants Committee. “Evangelism is the heart of Christian life, and we hope this program will light a fire and connect Episcopalians who are creating unique, authentically Episcopal ways of seeking, naming and celebrating Jesus’ loving presence everywhere.”
The 15 Evangelism Grant recipients are:
- McIlhaney Parish, Charlottesville, VA. This is an intentional Episcopal young adult living community that is deeply involved in social justice work in Charlottesville. A number of other people involved in social justice work have gathered around them for meetings and organization, and have become intrigued by the Episcopal faith. They wish to start a worshiping community. $2,000.
- St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Gladwyne, PA. This will be a wellness and spirituality church plant that gathers on websites, in conferences, and in local gatherings. It will support progressive Christian women who want to grow their faith and change the world, and will blend the best of parish life with the flexibility of the internet. $3,000.
- Trinity on the Green, New Haven, CT. In response to the growing opioid crisis, Trinity on the Green in New Haven, CT has taken the opportunity of its urban context to bring Jesus’ message of hope to people struggling with addiction and consequent isolation. Through its weekly gathering, sharing of life stories and common meal, participants in its Spiritual Fellowship Group are offered a chance to speak, be heard, pray and worship. $2,000.
- Church of the Ascension, Rochester, NY. The church will host another revival in the Diocese of Rochester. They held one last year with great success. The purpose is to celebrate God's love and will be open to everyone. Activities will include preaching, Gospel reading, music, children's activities, skits, and testimonies. The event will involve diocesan churches who want to collaborate and contribute to activities. Outreach will include people in the northwest region of Rochester, many who are not connected with a church home. $2,000.
- Bread of Life Preaching Station, Ministry on the Margins, ND. This grant will purchase a Communion table, and supplies for use at services. The Bread of Life preaching station was endorsed by the North Dakota Episcopal Diocesan Council in 2015. Services are held weekly at the center, which focuses on support to people in the community through a food bank, spiritual direction and post-prison re-entry programs. The grant will also fund two people’s attendance at Evangelism Matters to help them incorporate evangelism into the ministry. $1,000.
- St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Saratoga, CA. Bridge Project: The church currently provides weekly Sunday afternoon worship services to two men's dorms at the county jail and also hosts two Education for Ministry (EfM) in each dorm. The goal is to expand the ministry from the incarcerated to working strategically with those men released and reentering our community with a focus to support them in attending and joining our faith community and to, as possible, reunify with their loved ones. $2,000.
- St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church at Brownspoint, Tacoma, WA. The "Freedom of Religion Film Festival" will engage the audience with the very essence of social justice issues within our immigrant nation, by producing the stories that touch the heart and soul of what it means to be free. A variety of film programming over a two-day competition, after-film conversations with the artists, seminars, and food will make this a standout evangelical event, that may be reproduced in other parishes as well. $1,000.
- Diocese of Indianapolis. The diocese has discerned a need to comprehensively reimagine evangelism. Phase 1 of the project will be workshops for clergy on evangelism as the practice of spiritual intimacy. In Phase 2, lay leaders will receive training, and then the entire diocese will experiment with the method both inside and outside their congregations. In Phase 3, the project will reconvene at diocesan convention to explore together the impact of the practice and next steps. $4,700.
- Diocese of Vermont. Green Mountain Witness is designed to catalyze Vermont Episcopalians to tell their faith story in the light of God’s story in friendships, work, neighborhoods and casual daily encounters. Attendance at the March 2018 Evangelism Matters conference, an evangelism keynoter and seminars at the 2018 Diocesan Convention, and follow-up workshops in congregations will be integral to the initiative. This initiative comes in the context of Vermont being among the least religiously affiliated states in the USA. $6,000.
- Diocese of Dominican Republic. The diocesan vision is a nine-month program to build capacity in the local churches. The initiative includes: inviting, accompanying, motivating, and forming new believers in the realities of the conditions of the marginalized; forming and instructing children and young people in the Christian faith; and supporting missionary work for the evangelism of our communities. $8,000
- St. Edward’s Episcopal Church, Silverton, OR. St. Edward’s seeks to host small group dinners, bringing together people of varying life experiences to eat and talk. St. Edward’s hopes to bring together community members with intentionality, choosing a cross-section of political views, ethnicities, ages, genders, and so on, to eat and listen. The church will spread the Gospel by creating safe and enjoyable space for people to find commonality in divided times. $1,000
- Northwest Region, Diocese of Connecticut. Twelve lay people, from four different parishes, will be gathering to be trained as preachers. The group will gather for four sessions, two hours each, to be trained by a facilitator who has experience in training lay preachers. The goal of this initiative is to equip laity with tools and an ongoing social support system so they may go forth and proclaim the word of God in the pulpits of their parish and beyond. $2,000.
- St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Cheyenne, WY. The infant playgroup, Baby and Me, will meet weekly for one and one-half hours at St. Marks. The intended audience are infants and their parents within the Cheyenne community. It will be led by a professional nurse and will provide an opportunity to share the love of Jesus through play and support. The playgroup is in response to a survey conducted by the Wyoming Children’s Trust Fund. $250.
- St. Helena’s Episcopal Church/Iglesia Episcopal Santa Elena, Diocese of Chicago. “Becoming the Beloved Community” is an initiative designed to chronicle one parish’s coming-of-age journey. St. Helena’s/Santa Elena is undergoing a renewal process that seeks to integrate English-speaking and Spanish-speaking people into a unified community of faith and discover its spiritual identity. The program will include a video series on individual “stories of faith,” community listening sessions, public events, and a social media campaign to invite our neighbors to share their stories and join our community. $2,000.
- Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd, Vienna, WV. Good Shepherd is in a non-growing depressed region. The church is located on an infrequently traveled street in a part of town that people do not come into unless they need to be there. God has, however, helped the church to have significant outreach ministries to their neighbors. This project is a social media based ad campaign to encourage people to find our church based on the question “Where is the Pink Church?” $500.
Episcopal institutions (congregations, dioceses, provinces, schools, monastic communities, Episcopal organizations and other Episcopal affiliated entities) were eligible to receive these funds. Regional collaborative partnerships with non-Episcopal entities were welcome, but an Episcopal entity needed to serve as the project leader, active manager, and reporting agent. Those associated with a seminary or formation program were encouraged to explore funding through the Episcopal Evangelism Society here.
For more information, contact Kayla Massey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.716.6022.
The next deadline for evangelism grant applications is Friday, March 16 at 5 pm Eastern. Application is available on the Episcopal Evangelism page here.