10 worshiping communities awarded Mission Program Grants

Funding supports diverse range of ‘1001’ communities and helps start new ones

By Paul Seebeck |Presbyterian News Service

Robbins Memorial Chapel, which is home to a new worshiping community at Davis & Elkins College, is the architectural and spiritual focal point on campus. Photo by Laura Brekke Wagoner

LOUISVILLE – The Presbyterian Mission Agency recently approved Mission Program Grants to 10 new worshiping communities. The Mission Development Resources Committee announced the following recipients:

Growth Grants ($25,000)

are given to worshiping communities that have the goal of growing a viable, sustainable Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related community.

Davis & Elkins College Chapel, West Virginia Presbytery, Synod of the Trinity

Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church in Elkins, West Virginia, is located at the entrance to Davis & Elkins College. When Davis & Elkins hired a full-time chaplain to guide the student chapel leadership team and oversee a new worshiping community (NWC), the church upgraded Robbins Memorial Chapel with audio-visual technology. Under the Rev. Laura Brekke Wagoner’s leadership, the chapel has become a learning lab for millennials — where they learn how to be a pastor to their peers and lead pastoral initiatives from Bible study to campus vigils.


NorthWest Denver Missional Community is discerning how they might multiply their community by developing leaders to create additional “micro-churches” in people’s homes. Photo by Juli Adams

NorthWest Denver Missional Community, Denver Presbytery, Synod of the Rocky Mountains

The Rev. Joel Adams and his wife, Juli, are leading this worshiping community out of their home. They began forming their “micro-church” by building relationships with people in their neighborhood who were no longer involved in church or never had a church home. Now 30 people, along with their 20 children, meet weekly to focus on the Word and share a meal and the Lord’s table. Together with Denver Presbytery, they’re discerning how they might multiply their missional community — without losing their family feel — by developing leaders to form disciples so that additional “micro-churches” may be created in people’s homes.

Investment Grants ($25,000)

are given to worshiping communities that are making progress at living into their mission and ministry.

Glenwood Table, Long Island Presbytery, Synod of the Northeast

In October 2015, Glenwood Presbyterian Church in Landing, New York, closed. The Presbytery of Long Island, which owned the property, formed partnerships with the Glenwood Administrative Commission and the United Adult Ministries to create the Glenwood Life Center. Now this old church building is once again a communal place for spirituality, the arts and wellness. It is also home to Glenwood Table, which is led by the Rev. Kally Elliott, who engages people in faith conversations while leading a community of about 20 people in worship.

Sanctuary Missional Fellowship, Pittsburgh Presbytery, Synod of the Trinity

Led by the Rev. Laura Bentley, Sanctuary is a church for skeptical and exhausted people. They meet weekly for worship in Bentley’s home, gathering around a meal, Scripture and the Lord’s Supper and monthly for Pub Talks at a local bar in Pittsburgh. People who are on the margins of church, or completely outside it, attend the gatherings. Sanctuary has developed partnerships with two established PC(USA) churches — The Open Door, a 12-year-old church plant, and Oakmont Presbyterian Church, a traditional church about 15 minutes from Sanctuary’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.

Triangle Grace Korean Church, New Hope Presbytery, Synod of the Mid-Atlantic

Triangle Grace’s goal is to equip everyone who comes to their church in Durham, North Carolina, to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Through Bible studies, small groups and an ongoing discipleship training program, they are developing future leaders for the church.

Seed Grants ($7,500)

are given to help new worshiping communities get started.

All Saints Church, San Fernando Presbytery, Synod of Southern California

All Saints is in Glendale, California — where 70 percent of residents identify as non-Christian. Thousands of young professionals, artists and families have moved into the city in the past five years, and All Saints believes Glendale needs churches to reach its rapidly changing population, which also includes more than 60,000 Armenians — the largest Armenian diaspora in the world.

Beloved Everybody Church, San Fernando Presbytery, Synod of Southern California

This new worshiping community seeks to create space where people with and without intellectual disabilities can be discipled and use their gifts to teach, lead and encourage others in the greater San Fernando area.

JustChurch, East Iowa Presbytery, Synod of Lakes & Prairies

In Dubuque, Iowa, JustChurch is reaching those who are hungry to worship God and enact justice in the public square. Those making initial commitments include non-practicing Roman Catholic people, the LGBTQ+ community, and people 40 and younger who do not regularly worship anywhere and who are upset that the church does not seem to live out the faith it talks about.

Oikos 4:45, San Fernando Presbytery, Synod of Southern California

With no Christian activities in homeless camps, nor in the apartment complexes in the North Hills neighborhood, this NWC began worshiping together before taking food to people living in those camps. Praying with those who ask for healing, they began to create “safe and sacred spaces” in the camps — and then on the street and in people’s living rooms. Oikos 4:45’s mission is taking the “sanctuary” of church buildings and extending it to those who don’t feel comfortable in a church building.

Wild Village, Denver Presbytery, Synod of the Rocky Mountains

This NWC seeks to connect spiritual-but-not-religious people to Christ through nature-based immersions in the Rockies. Whether going for an off-the-grid hike for the weekend or getting together every fifth Sunday for spiritual conversation, Wild Village seeks to form relationships with those who want to talk about Jesus but don’t want to engage in institutional church.

Mission Program Grants are made available through the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. These grants support new worshiping communities’ and mid councils’ work to transform existing churches.

In 2012, the 220th General Assembly of the PC(USA) declared a commitment to a churchwide movement that results in the creation of 1001 worshiping communities over the next 10 years. At a grassroots level, hundreds of diverse new worshiping communities have already formed across the nation.

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