…They Are Going Fast

Diocesan Council Awards Several Grants at June Meeting

Early this year Diocesan Council allocated $55,000 in mission grants to help parishes implement new initiatives to reach out to their communities in 2015. Initiatives are encouraged which embody local expressions of Bishop McConnell's three strategic priorities – proclaiming a Public Gospel; helping parishes become Missional Communities; and enhancing Leadership Formation, especially by helping laity deepen their knowledge and love of God in Jesus Christ and equipping them for His mission in the world.

These grants, generally ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, have been awarded to seven parishes as of the June first Diocesan Council meeting. The remaining funds will continue to be awarded and disbursed during 2015 for worthy grants on a first-come, first-served basis.

How might a parish identify a worthy prospect for such a grant? The short answer is prayer and discernment. Additional inspiration might be found through the examples in the proposals of those parishes who have already been awarded grants. 

  • The first grant went to the Church of the Good Shepherd in Hazelwood for their "Feeding Mind, Body, and Soul" Thursday evening community meal and Bible study program which began in November, 2104.
  • St. Thomas, Canonsburg, was awarded the second grant for their "Chillin' and Grillin' Final Friday Fest" outdoor BBQ free meal with music in the parking lot behind the church. They designed these events for the final Friday of every summer month when folks in their neighborhood may be running short on funds to provide food for their households and to use these events to promote their VBS (Vacation Bible School) program in July.

The five additional mission grants approved in June went to the five parishes and initiatives described below.

  • Church of the Atonement, Carnegie, also plans for a meal-centered outreach through providing hot dog lunches every Wednesday to as many as 150 children who attend the summer program at the Boys' Club in Carnegie that is located right next to the church. They will bring the children in to their sanctuary for a brief Bible lesson and prayer before they go downstairs to get their lunch food.
  • St. Matthew's in Homestead will use their grant funds to support a parish-based Food Bank for their neighborhood as well as their "Soup Supper with a Movie" events for families in the community. St. Matthew's also offers a summer evening VBS program which also provides those who attend with brown bag breakfast and lunch meals and backpacks filled with school supplies.
  • The "Way of the Twelve" monthly Coffee House events at St. Barnabas in Brackenridge received grant funding for the pizza and beverages the church serves to those who come to listen and/or share their talents at this open mic event offered in an alcohol-free, family-friendly atmosphere. The parish also was awarded grant funding for their "Santa at St. Barnabas" community event for local children in December.
  • St. Paul's, Mt. Lebanon, received a mission grant to help defray the costs of the "Invite Welcome Connect" Workshop Day they plan to provide for the whole diocese on Saturday, September 12. This day will also offer a special track for those parishes who want to focus their efforts on reaching out through Sunday School and other children's ministries.
  • The final grant awarded by Council in June went to All Saints, Brighton Heights for the very creative yet simple "Church in a Box" weekly senior living community worship service their Rector, Fr. John Schaeffer and his wife, Karen, offer at the UPMC Cumberland Woods facility. 

Hopefully, the various ideas offered in grant proposals above may help spark some creative proposals for fruitful outreach ministry in other parishes throughout the Diocese. 

The Mission Grant Application may be found by clicking here or in the "Documents and Forms" section under the Resource tab on the Diocesan website. The document contains submission instructions. 

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