Adapted from the Office of Public Affairs
During its October meeting, Executive Council approved grants totaling $1,797,000 for church planting and Mission Enterprise Zones.
Resolution D005 and Resolution A012, approved by General Convention in July 2015, authorized new and continued funding for church plants and Mission Enterprise Zones throughout the Episcopal Church. Newly created grants have been and will be awarded to dioceses and already-established ministries exploring possibilities for new initiatives or expansion. The resolutions also call for the creation of a community of practice for equipping the church with resources for assessment, coaching, networking, and sharing best practices.
The Rev. Susan Brown Snook of the Diocese of Arizona, member of Executive Council and chairwoman of its Local Ministry and Mission Committee, said that church planting “is some of the most exciting work we see happening in our church today in the mission priority area of evangelism. Just a few years ago, we saw very few new church initiatives in the Episcopal Church. Now, we see an inspiring variety of new ideas, energy, and enthusiasm for reaching new people with the good news of Christ through new and creative initiatives to plant new congregations, in both traditional and nontraditional ways.”
She reported that so far this triennium, 68 applications have been received. “Of these, 34 were approved and 34 were recommended for denial,” she said.
“This is an exciting new moment in the life of the Episcopal Church and we are thrilled by the energy and willingness of the church to follow Jesus in new ways into our communities and neighborhoods,” said the Rev. Jane Gerdsen, chair of the Genesis Group (General Convention Advisory Group on Church Planting) “This new energy is represented not only in the number of submissions, but more importantly the diversity of places, people, and expressions of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. We want to encourage and celebrate all who are part of this movement.”
The 34 initiatives approved include 12 new church plants, seven new Mission Enterprise Zones, five discernment grants, seven renewal grants for church plants originally funded in the 2013-15 triennium, and three renewal grants for Mission Enterprise Zones originally funded in the 2013-15 triennium.
The new church plants include nine Latino churches, two focused on young adults, one on the homeless population, and several focused on other ethnic ministry groups. All of the Mission Enterprise Zones grants focus on populations that are under-represented in the Episcopal Church.
The grants are:
New Church Plants ($1,128,000)
Mission Enterprise Zones ($123,000)
Discernment Grants ($22,500)
The next deadline for submission is January 15. See the Episcopal Genesis page for more information.
Members of the Genesis Group (General Convention Advisory Group on Church Planting) and their dioceses are:
- The Rev. Jane Gerdsen, chairwoman, Southern Ohio
- The Rev. Valerie Bailey Fischer, Newark
- Erendira Jimenez-Pike, Kentucky
- The Rev. Michael Michie, Dallas
- The Rev. Alex Montes Vela, Texas
- The Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers, Alabama
- The Rev. Zachary Nyein, East Tennessee
- The Rev. David Perkins, Lexington
- The Rev. Canon Jesus Reyes, El Camino Real
- The Rt. Rev. George Sumner, Jr., Dallas
- The Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner, Fort Worth
The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Georgia, is the liaison from Executive Council.
The Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop, and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, are Ex Officio members.
The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers is the staff adviser and the Rev. Tom Brackett is the staff liaison.