A new grant program from the Presbyterian Mission Agency provides supplemental funding to partner congregations and/or presbyteries in support of new worshiping community leaders who would otherwise not be able to afford health insurance.

The New Worshiping Communities Health Insurance Grant (NWCHIG) is being offered through Mission Program Grants, which is part of Church Growth ministries in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Presbyteries may apply on behalf of the new worshiping communities for an annual grant of up to $1,500. The grant may be renewed twice, for a total of three years, upon approval of a yearly application.

Mission Program Grants implemented the new Health Insurance Grant as part of the overall strategy for the PC(USA)’s 1001 new worshiping communities movement.

“Many new pastors and seminary students called to start new worshiping communities have hesitated to pursue their call because of the need to secure health insurance for themselves and their families,” says 1001 New Worshiping Communities associate Vera White. “The new grant idea came out of wanting to remove one of the primary barriers to starting new worshiping communities.”

In the application for the NWCHIG, partner congregations and presbyteries of the new worshiping community or new congregation are encouraged to match up to the $1,500 grant.

Philip Lotspeich, coordinator for the Office of Church Growth, recognizes that this grant “may not pay for everything” but sees it as an opportunity for others in the church to “step up and do the right thing.

“In the end this was a justice issue for us,” he says. “If we ask faithful people to take on these risky adventures, knowing they didn’t have health-care coverage, that would just be wrong.”

To receive a Health Insurance Grant application, which are being accepted now, contact Mission Program Grants associate Tim McCallister.

“Many of our new worshiping community leaders are serving in communities of limited means,” says McCallister. “This grant — created and implemented in partnership with the PC(USA)’s Mission Development Resources Committee members — will help reduce their worry and risk and provide health insurance to those who otherwise would not be able to afford it.”