Thirteen new worshiping communities will receive nearly $200,000 in mission program grants, from the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The funding will further support existing worshiping communities, and start new ones in the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.) 1001 worshiping community movement.
Highlights, and recipients, of the grant funding are listed below.
- Three $25,000 Growth Grant recipients, new ministries that are responsive to the needs of a new group of people, with the ultimate goal of growing a viable, and sustainable new PC(USA) congregation.
- Two $25,000 Investment Grants recipients, new ministries making real progress at living into Starting New Worshiping Communities—A Discernment Process.
- Eight $7,500 Seed Grants recipients will receive start-up funding to begin a new ministry, as they create a new worshiping community.
- Fellowship of Mosaics: Led by the Rev. Dr. Stephen Moon, this fellowship in Presbytery of Sacramento, is reaching millennials, particularly those of Asian descent, although the fellowship includes Anglo, African-American, and Hapa (part-Asian) young people. The Fellowship will receive this grant once a steering leadership team is established to discern possible partnership with a church in nearby Davis that has become a gathering spot for Millennials, and has a large Asian population.
- Not So Churchy: The only English speaking new worshiping community in Presbytery of New York City, led by the Rev. Mieke Vandersall, one of the first LGBTQ trained Teaching Elders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Not So Churchy has a core group of 20, which sometimes doubles to 40 in monthly worship, and they’ve just started a Bible study. For the past two years this community, which is about half LGBTQ persons and half “allies,” has been a fixture on Ash Wednesday on Union Square, inviting people to pray and receive ashes.
- South Louisville/Preston Highway Ministry with Hispanics/Latinos: through the leadership of the Rev. Elmer Zavala, and a developing group of house-church leaders, this worshiping community in Mid-Kentucky Presbytery provides social and pastoral care to as many as 150 Hispanic/Latino immigrants in an area known as “Little Mexico” (a few are from other parts of Central America). In addition to house-church worship and Bible studies, the larger group meets monthly for joint worship, and celebration of the sacraments, including baptisms of new Christians coming to faith.
- Houston Hope of the Nations in the Presbytery of New Covenant, provides worship, study and support to the city’s Iranian/Middle Eastern new immigrant community. Leader Eid Abdelmassih Hanna has developed a team of four people who offer regular, worship, Bible Study, food, job assistance and counseling to those who have suffered because of the loss of relatives to war, or religious persecution.
- Trinity Presbyterian Church in the Presbytery of New York City is one of the largest worshiping bodies in the Bronx. This Ghanaian worshiping community’s attendance and giving is higher than most fellowships, which brings them closer to becoming an established PC (USA) congregation. Trinity has been able to engage a lot of younger men into the life of the community—helping them move beyond the drug and gang culture.
- All Who Gather, a new worshiping communityin the Presbytery of Cincinnati, is developing a Center for Action and Contemplation—to reach those in the city who are spiritual, but currently not involved in a church. The center is being developed out of a partnership between Northminster Presbyterian and Redeemer Episcopal, and is being led by Presbyterian pastor the Rev. Troy Bronsink.
- Arabic Speaking Community, in the Presbytery of Des Moines, already has 50 people involved in one or more of its many ministries. Leader Ekram Kachu is providing this new community with joint worship opportunities, Arabic speaking Bible studies, and “women empowerment,” cultural growth opportunities.
- Gateway Presbyterian Fellowship, in the Presbytery of Boston, began as an outreach to Kenyans on Boston’s North Shore. Led by the Rev. Dr. Lawrence P.L. Mbagara, worship is in Kikuyu, Kiswahili, and English, languages, found in fellowships that attract immigrants from a number of East African Countries.
- the Missing Peace, in the Presbytery of Central Florida, is geared toward those who either have no religious affiliation (nones) or those who are walking away from church (dones). Led by Dubuque M.Div. graduate, Katy Steniberg in Ormond Beach, Florida, this new worshiping community is meeting people where they are—all the while focused on worship.
- The Open Table, in the Heartland Presbytery, is partnering with Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. Worship leader/curator Nick Pickrell is focusing on creating a new worshiping community where people can come together for community, purpose, and conversation around various life issues.
- Reclamation Ministries, in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, is being started in partnership with Peace Presbyterian Church, in Eden Prairie, Minn. Worshiping Community Leader Barbara Jean West is working at creating partnerships with locations in the area who serve domestic violence victims, those recently released from prison, and the developmentally challenged.
- Shekinah Presbyterian Church, in the Presbytery of Boston, is a fast-growing Brazilian ministry in Brockton, Mass. Led by the Rev. Paulo Lima this worshiping community has averaged 20 adult baptisms per year, since they first started gathering.
- Wandering Vine, in the Presbytery of Northern Plains, is an outreach ministry of Trinity Lutheran and First Presbyterian Church in Crookston, Minn. Led by the Rev. Dr. Darrel Corey, they began worshiping the at the town’s University of Minnesota campus in September. Wandering Vine is now forming a core team to go through new worshipping communities discernment process—to help them engage the people their ministry is meant to connect with.
The Mission Development Resources Committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency selected grant recipients based on polices and procedures development by the Office of Mission Program Grants, now housed in Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries. Proposals for the next round of new worshiping community grants are being accepted until Feb. 10, 2016, with reviews and decision being made on March 16-17.