Four Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) new church developments (NCDs) have been named winners of the 2010 Sam and Helen R. Walton Awards. Each recipient will receive $50,000.
The four churches, located in Ohio, Virginia, South Carolina and Texas, are diverse, with congregations that are primarily White, Ghanaian, Arabic and Vietnamese.
The 2010 Walton Award recipients are:
- Ramseyer Presbyterian Church, Columbus, Ohio (Synod of the Covenant), the first African immigrant new church development in Scioto Valley Presbytery;
- The Christian Arabic Church, Richmond, Va. (Synod of the Mid-Atlantic), the only Arabic-speaking congregation in the Presbytery of the James;
- Palmetto Presbyterian Church, Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (Synod of South Atlantic), a thriving, growing, mission-minded church in the Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery; and
- Thien An Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas (Synod of the Sun), which started in May 2001 in New Covenant Presbytery with a vision "to become a new congregation serving 150,000 people of the Vietnamese community in Southwest Houston."
Each congregation was selected for their work in creatively "Growing Christ’s Church Deep and Wide" in their local communities by the Mission Development Resources Committee. The General Assembly Mission Council executive committee endorsed the committee’s recommendations.
The Walton Awards were established in 1991 as part of a $6 million gift from the late Sam and Helen Walton through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation. The gift included an endowment of $3 million dollars to be used by outstanding new church developments for site acquisition and capital improvements.
Since 1993, 96 Walton Awards totaling $3,910,000 have been presented to NCDs in 59 presbyteries in all 16 PC(USA) synods.
More on this year’s recipients from information received by the selection committee from the churches:
Ramseyer Presbyterian Church, Columbus, Ohio (Synod of the Covenant, Scioto Valley Presbytery): As the first African immigrant NCD in the presbytery, Ramseyer’s success reflects the spirit of diversity that spurs enduring growth. The church entered 2009 with a vision for growth in three dimensions: in spirituality, membership and financial stewardship. They have made significant progress in all areas of their vision, and through their health and wellness events, have responded to pressing medical issues in their community. Through its own capital campaign, Ramseyer recently paid off its 14-acre site. The Walton Award will enable them to prepare the land for construction, specifically, to extend basic utilities from the city to the church site.
The Christian Arabic Church, Richmond, Va. (Synod of the Mid-Atlantic, Presbytery of the James). The Christian Arabic Church began in 1992 as an Arabic language Bible study and grew into a fellowship that began meeting in 1999. It became an NCD with the goal of providing a spiritual and social ministry to the Arabic-speaking people in the greater Richmond area. Today it remains the only Arabic-speaking congregation in the presbytery. The Christian Arabic Church has outgrown the rental space it uses and would like to have its own facilities. The Walton Award will supplement the $130,000 the congregation has saved for a new church home.
Palmetto Presbyterian Church, Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (Synod of South Atlantic, Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery): Palmetto Presbyterian Church began on Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2007 when a new community of faith gathered for worship in a middle school cafeteria. Two and a half years later, Palmetto is a thriving, growing, mission-minded Presbyterian presence in the community. They worshipped for the first time on Jan. 10, 2010 in their beautiful new 500-seat sanctuary. Palmetto will use the Walton Award to reduce the mortgage on their new sanctuary and education buildings.
Thien An Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas (Synod of the Sun, New Covenant Presbytery): Thien An Presbyterian Church started in May 2001 with a vision "to become a new congregation serving 150,000 people of the Vietnamese community in Southwest Houston," and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to guide thousands of Vietnamese people of Southwest Houston to believe in Jesus Christ, to grow up in new life as believers, to strengthen their families, and to impact the people of their community. Thien An has grown in membership from 18 to 134 members, of which 86 new believers were baptized. They ordained seven elders on May 25, 2008, the day the church was chartered. Thien An has outgrown its current facilities and will use the Walton Award to acquire a building or land on which to build.