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Eleven new worshiping communities, two presbyteries receive Mission Program Grants

Grants awarded to new worshiping communities as well as more established ministries

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Evangelical Arabic Presbyterian Church, the largest PC(USA) church for Arabic-speaking people in Nashville, is meeting via Zoom during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — In its latest grant cycle, the Mission Development Resources Committee (MDRC) recently approved 11 Mission Program Grants to new worshiping communities and two to presbyteries for their congregational transformation work.

On behalf of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, five $7,500 seed grants were awarded to diverse 1001 new worshiping communities to help them get started in various presbyteries across the country. An additional six new worshiping communities will receive $25,000 investment grants to help them grow as they live into their mission and ministry.

The worshiping community and presbytery grant recipients are listed below, followed by their presbytery and synod:

Seed Grants  

  • Colorado Tegulu Community (Denver, Rocky Mountains) is an Indian community in Westminster, Colorado, that intends to grow in size and spiritual strength by reaching out to people of Asian descent in the Denver area.
  • Communitas (Mission, Sun) is a new community developing in Austin, Texas, out of a shared desire of people who are disenfranchised by traditional religion. Longing for deep spiritual spaces, practice and community, organizers hope to create a new way of living and being in the world, based on the teachings of Jesus.
  • Linden Road Chinese Community Ministry (Muskingum Valley, Covenant) is made of mostly non-Christian Chinese families who gather to share cultural events and celebrate special events such as Chinese holidays. They are also sharing God’s love and studying Scripture together, which Linden Road Presbyterian Church in Mansfield, Ohio says is growing faith, building trust and creating disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • Morning Brew (Los Ranchos, Southern California & Hawaii) came out of Morningside Presbyterian Church’s desire to do something new for the community. Understanding they do not intend, or have the energy for revitalization — and that they are three minutes from California State University, Fullerton — part of the church campus will become a café/lounge for college students.

In its first year, Solomon’s Porch, a new worshiping community in Jonesboro, Arkansas formed for people who grew up in church but felt unwelcome, baptized 10 new believers. (Contributed photo)

  • Solomon’s Porch (Arkansas, Sun), in 2018 a small group of LGBTQ+ people and allies began gathering to discuss the possibility of forming the new worshiping community. Beginning weekly worship in 2019 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Solomon’s Porch celebrated 10 baptisms of new believers. People who grew up in church but felt unwelcome because of their sexuality or gender identity are worshiping in church, many for the first time in years.  Others, including those who don’t identify as Christians, come because they are drawn to the compassionate, collaborative nature of the community.

Investment Grants

  • Evangelical Arabic Presbyterian Church (Middle Tennessee, Living Waters) began in 2018 with 12 families. Meeting for worship, the families reflected on this three-pronged question: “What is the purpose of life, what is the church you dream of, and what can each person do to help make such a church happen?” From this discussion, without any administrative and leadership structure, the group created a clear vision of building the largest PC(USA) church for Arabic-speaking people in Nashville.
  • Meeting Place at Burney PC (Sacramento, Pacific) in Burney, California, says its identity is based in the call of Jesus to go out and make disciples to all nations (Matthew 28:18). By showing the small community the love of Jesus Christ, the Meeting Place seeks to be in relationship with God and introduce those coming to the reality of new life in the Spirit.
  • Ministerio Hispano Transfigueracion (San Francisco, Pacific) primarily serves Spanish- speaking people from a diverse number of communities and congregations in El Cerrito, California. This worshiping community has established monthly worship services for non-churched people, recruited men and women to start a counseling ministry, created support groups for those who have experienced domestic violence and provided opportunities for Bible study and prayer.
  • Shekinah PC of Natick (Boston, Northeast) ministers to Portuguese-speaking immigrants in Natick, Massachusetts. Shekinah ministers to the 7,000 Brazilians in the towns of Natick and Framingham — and another 4,000 in neighboring areas with immigration and health care issues as they adjust to life in the U.S., helping them with immigration and health care issues.
  • Wild Village (Denver, Rocky Mountains) is built around a vision that founder the Rev. Dr. Dan Dolquist playfully calls “rewilding,” which is a way of living and moving in the world that is connected to humanity’s deepest wholeness. Based in Denver, Wild Village ultimately hopes to cultivate wise, mature elders to guide and develop healthy human cultures in the communities they live and serve.
  • Sacramento Uganda Fellowship (Sacramento, Pacific) was formed in 2016 to bring together Ugandans and Americans with Ugandan roots and ties in the area to support each other individually and to jointly participate in community endeavors.

Presbytery level Congregational Transformation Grants:

  • Presbytery of Lake Michigan (Synod of the Covenant) receives a $28,000 grant for the first year of its “Process for Renewal” project. Lake Michigan has tried to strengthen its congregations in the past, but now is willing to try a new approach to bring about effective change. That willingness, coupled with its desire to be part of the Vital Congregations Initiative, which pastors and sessions have bought into, suggest the presbytery and its congregations are ready to work together for new life and change.
  • Presbytery of Minnesota Valley (Synod of Lakes and Prairies) will receive $29,950 for year two of its “Transformation Beyond Change” project. In year one, the presbytery received $18,950 ($50,000 total). Through first-year transformation efforts, Minnesota Valley felt a call to become a Matthew 25 presbytery to specifically work at dismantling structural racism, which is one of the three focuses of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Matthew 25 invitation. The grant is helping the presbytery engage in retooling pastors for 21st century ministry by focusing on discernment, strategic planning, change management, lay leadership development and the development of community narratives.

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

In 2012, the 220th General Assembly of the PC(USA) declared a commitment to a churchwide movement resulting in the creation of 1001 worshiping communities over the next 10 years.

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