New worshiping community receives $50K Walton award


New Creation Presbyterian Church to use grant as part of its building campaign

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

New Creation Presbyterian Church, which is running out of space in a warehouse it rents, hosted a barbecue as part of its celebration after becoming a PC(USA)-chartered church in 2018. The church is the recipient of a $50,000 Walton grant. (Photo  by Mike Price)

LOUISVILLE – New Creation Presbyterian Church, a 1001 New Worshiping Community in Hendersonville, Tenn. that became an official PC(USA) chartered congregation last year, has been a named as a winner of a $50,000 2019 Sam and Helen R. Walton award.

Walton awards are given to new worshiping communities for excellence in furthering Presbyterian mission. New Creation is bursting at the seams with energy and excitement.

At its first service seven years ago, 11 people showed up — if you count the Rev. Keith Gunter, wife Amy and their three children. Now with more than 100 adults and 50 children on the charter roll — most were either non-believers or de-churched — worship at New Creation takes place in a warehouse.  Despite having two services, the church has outgrown the space, with more than 75 children 6th grade and under moving through worship.

The Walton award will help New Creation move forward with its $2.5 million building campaign, which families in the church have started pledging money to.

Quarterly, on “Missions Sundays,” the entire congregation volunteers in the community in lieu of attending the usual church service.  This foray into the community inspired moms in the church to partner with foster moms to create and maintain an on-site closet full of clothing for free use by area foster agencies that care for children in need.

New Creation was nominated by the Mission Development Resource Committee (MDRC) to receive a Walton award. The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) endorsed the recommendation at its meeting this week in Louisville.

The Walton awards were established through the Presbyterian Foundation in 1991 as part of a $6 million gift from the late Sam and Helen R. Walton. The gift included an endowment of $3 million to be used to help new worshiping communities and congregations with site acquisitions and capital improvements.

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.

New Creation was formed in 2012 when 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. At a grassroots level, nearly 500 diverse new worshiping communities have formed across the nation.

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