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Nearly $15 million has been granted to New Worshiping Communities over the past 10 years

‘Keep the faith. Do the job. Ask for help,’ coordinator for Mission Program Grants says as he retires

by Beth Waltemath | Presbyterian News Service

Tim McCallister

Since 2013, the Presbyterian Mission Agency has funded 1,155 grants for a total of $14,938,581 through seed, investment, growth and health insurance grants to new worshiping communities.

Tim McCallister, coordinator for Mission Program Grants and Schools and Colleges Equipping Communities of Color, has overseen the grant process and equipped the grants committee since the beginning of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities movement. McCallister has worked in the mission agency for more than 36 years and has seen it through many iterations. For 23 of those years, his specialty has been Mission Program Grants. For the past eight years, he has been supporting the grants committee for the Schools and Colleges Equipping Communities of Color. McCallister will retire on Friday.

Reflecting on what has been meaningful about his work in supporting new worshiping communities, McCallister said, “This denomination is at its best when we set aside our privilege and treat each other like a loved family.” He appreciates through the grant process and coaching how “people shine as they realize how much and how many people love and care about them.” McCallister focuses on how people connect through programs. “I believe programs can do much to help accomplish tasks, but this work should be a matter of the heart while we nurture genuine relationships.”

On June 13, five new worshiping communities received a total of $110,000. Three of these — Iglesia Redentor Divino, Dia Nuevo and Selah Indo-Pak Fellowship — serve new immigrants in Chicago or Southern California and received grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 to plant and grow their communities of faith.

In April, four new worshiping communities received $160,000. The communities included a newly chartered Charleston, South Carolina church and two communities both called Ebenezer who serve immigrant and marginalized youth in Denver or Los Angeles.

In March, 11 communities received $460,000. These new communities focus on outreach to Brazilian, Hispanic, Korean and Laotian immigrants as well as college students and university communities.

Every March, exceptional new worshiping communities are also considered for the Sam & Helen R. Walton Award to help with capital expenses.

New applications for Mission Program Grants were received on June 20. Recipients will be announced in late July. Applications for Mission Program Grants are accepted throughout the year and funds are distributed over the course of six cycles.

In the three cycles of 2023, $761,715 has been granted to 42 new worshiping communities for seed, investment, growth and health insurance grants. Seed grants of $10,000 support communities in their first year. Investment and growth grants of $30,000 support communities after that year.

The next deadlines in 2023 are July 25 and Aug. 29. Apply today.

McCallister said he feels honored to have been given the chance to be in relationship with new worshiping leaders over the years and “to work together as a community to create a vision and ways to serve those who may have been hurt by, rejected or in many cases never felt welcome enough by the church,” who now have the opportunity “to risk trying to have a relationship with God.”

He shares his wisdom with those who dream about new worshiping communities or just wonder how they, too, can support them. It’s advice he received early in his career in missions from someone who works with student and campus ministries: “Keep the faith. Do the job. Ask for help.”

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