Nineteen new worshiping communities awarded Mission Program Grants


Thirteen get $7,500 to help get them started, while six receive $25K to help them grow

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Growing Neighbors, a Spokane, Wash., new worshiping community, grows through urban farming and community development. (Photo courtesy of Growing Neighbors)

LOUISVILLE — On behalf of Presbyterian Mission Agency, during its latest grant cycle the Mission Development Resources Committee  (MDRC) recently approved 19 Mission Program Grants to worshiping communities.

Thirteen $7,500 seed grants were awarded to help a diverse number of 1001 New Worshiping Communities get started in various presbyteries across the country.  In addition, two existing worshiping communities will receive $25,000 investment grants to help them live into their mission and ministry. Four will receive $25,000 growth grants as they work toward becoming viable Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) communities.

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

Seed Grants

Agape is Love (Minnesota Valleys, Lakes and Prairies) provides spiritual guidance and faith formation to the LGBTQ+ community in Marshall, Minnesota and the surrounding area.

AthleteLife/Vida Atletica (Riverside, Southern California & Hawaii) is led by Lazaro Silva, who’s from Brazil. He has led sports-based children’s outreach ministries around the world, introducing children and their families in the greater Los Angeles area to Jesus Christ.

Be Well (San Francisco, Pacific) began when Clementica Chacón-Garcia found work transporting people as a driver for a ride-hailing company. During those rides, she began having spiritual and therapeutic conversations with strangers. This new worshiping community provides a safe space where people share their trauma, receive healing and experience God together through spiritual practices.

Contemplate Lincoln (Homestead, Lakes and Prairies) is a new worshiping community focused on experiential worship and Christian learning for Millennials and others in Lincoln, Nebraska, who are spiritual but not religious.

 David’s Court Ministries (Greater Atlanta, South Atlantic) is led by Columbia Theological Seminary international student Ebenezer Alonge.  David’s Court provides a church home, fellowship and solidarity to African immigrants in the area. It also works to create role models helping people discover and use their God-given abilities.

Growing Neighbors (Inland Northwest, Alaska-Northwest) is partnering with a variety of community organizations in Spokane, Washington to grow healthy neighborhoods through urban farming and community development.   As people gather to love and care for their neighbors and nature, new discipleship and worship opportunities are arising in places where folks already live, work and play.

Iglesia Y Fe Esperanza (Northwest Coast, Alaska-Northwest) is a creative, interdependent, ecumenical experiment in ministry with the Hispanic/Latino community in Everett, Washington.

Lyrical Opposition (San Francisco, Pacific) is a new faith and arts community that showcases lyrical artists in local venues, art galleries, open mic cafés and PC(USA) churches in San Francisco.

Parkside Church (Charleston-Atlantic, South Atlantic) ministers to the unchurched and dechurched — people who formerly attended church but have not been to a service in six months — and the LGBTQ+ community in Charleston, South Carolina.

Psalms (Northwest Coast, Alaska-Northwest) is a gospel and songs group for local residents, including those in recovery and those returning from prison, in Burlington, Washington. It focuses on worship, study and prayer of the Psalms.

Raven-Brook Recovery Church (Lake Michigan, Covenant) works to provide community for people recovering from addiction and abuse and their impacted family members in Jackson, Michigan.

This Generation Connect (Pittsburgh, Trinity) began as a Bible study in leader Nathaniel Carter’s home in East Pittsburgh, Pa.  As people brought food, they began to see themselves as a Eucharistic group that was being fed spiritually and physically, leading them to incorporate worship into their Bible study.

Warriors of Light (Heartland, Mid-America) is a worshiping community for women in Kansas City that emphasizes spiritual and community development through self-improvement, meditation, prayer and deeply personal worship.

Investment Grants

The Rev. Michael Plank hosts a 1001 worshiping community at Underwood Park CrossFit in Fort Edward, N.Y. Plank co-founded and owns the facility along with his spouse, Loren Grogan. (Photo by Film 180, Michael Fitzer)

Underwood Park CrossFit (Albany, Northeast) holds worship services on Friday nights for members of its fitness community. These worship services consist of a group workout with warm-ups, exercises and cool-downs, combined with prayer, Scripture, teaching and preaching. Watch a video.

Wild Goose Christian Community-Bonsack (The Peaks, Mid-Atlantic) seeks to reach out to and connect with people in Roanoke, Virginia, who long for a sense of community and a spiritual place but will not attend a traditional church.

Growth Grants

Esperanza Viva (Los Ranchos, Southern California & Hawaii) is a Spanish-language worshiping community just outside of Los Angeles. It hosts worship and disciple classes in multiple locations, including homes and parks, to provide opportunities for the unchurched to become family in Christ.

Farm Church (New Hope, Mid-Atlantic) is a Christ-centered community that is working to address food insecurity in the greater Durham, North Carolina area. Recently Farm Church celebrated three years of consistent worship. A local nonprofit, SEEDS, has provided Farm Church with public space to grow gardens and to meet for worship in exchange for labor and care of the grounds. Now three gardens are under production.  Read about Farm Church founder Ben Johnston-Krase.

Kirk of Holly Springs (New Hope, Mid-Atlantic) leadership wanted people in the community to experience Presbyterian worship. Since there was no PC(USA) congregation in Holly Springs, N.C., they formed a new worshiping community in 2012. Over the next three years, Kirk of Holly Springs is on track to become a self-sustaining PC(USA) congregation with 150-200 active members.

Trinity Ghanaian Presbyterian Church, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next month, serves African immigrants in Richmond, Va. (Contributed photo)

Trinity Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship (The James, Mid Atlantic) serves African Immigrant communities in Richmond, Virginia. It will celebrate its 10th anniversary in October.

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. At a grassroots level, nearly 500 diverse ‘1001’ communities have formed across the nation.



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