Council Approves First Congregational Growth Grants

by | Jun 23, 2016

By Lu Stanton León

Diocesan Council on Tuesday approved the first batch of growth grants made possible by increased congregational contributions to the diocesan operating budget.

The five grants ranged from $3,000 to $20,000 and will support Latino and campus ministry initiatives as well as new worship services and musical offerings.

“The Council was energized and excited by the evangelistic focus of the grant proposals.”  Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said. “It affirmed our hope that with increased financial capacity, EDOW congregations would gladly and creatively reach out to their communities. These grants represent the first step on what I pray will be a rewarding journey for us all.”

The deadline to apply for the fall cycle of grants is October 1.

Church of the Ascension in Gaithersburg received $20,000 for expanded outreach to the Spanish speaking community in its immediate neighborhood with the possible inclusion of the local campus of Montgomery College. The Rev. Javier Ocampo will lead the ministry.

A partnership comprising Church of the Epiphany in Forestville, Christ Church in Clinton, St. Barnabas, Leeland in Upper Marlboro and St. Christopher’s in New Carrolton received a $10,000 grant for quarterly events that will use jazz and hip hop to reach out to young adults and families in Prince George’s County.

“Partner parishes will provide a jazz night on Friday nights as a way for people to come out and enjoy and evening of fellowship,” the congregations wrote in their application. “We will invite them to come to one of our churches on the following Saturday or Sunday and invite the featured band to participate in Sunday services. When the band is hip hop or contemporary gospel we will hold a Saturday service focused on outreach to young adults.”

Saint Paul’s, K Street and St. Patrick’s in the District received a $10,000 grant to revitalize campus ministry at the George Washington University. In their application the parishes said they would hold an event for incoming students in the fall and spring; provide a contemplative study space with free coffee, tea and light refreshments during midterm and final examinations; offer a monthly sung Compline service and provide “a ministry of presence at one of the student hangouts on campus on a weekly basis.”

The Church of Ascension and Saint Agnes in the District received $9,000 to develop a monthly Sunday evening service that it describes as “a ‘contemplative casual’ alternative to ‘contemporary

Praise’ worship.” The service, which will begin on a nine-month trial basis, will be aimed at young adults including those who are unfamiliar with or estranged from the church, and will conclude with a meal in the parish’s undercroft. The growth grant will pay for the services of a four-person choir and is contingent upon confirmation of partnership with nearby parishes.

Christ Church, LaPlata and Christ Church, Wayside received $3,000 for “Mass on the Grass,” an outdoor, midweek worship service to be held on summer evenings. Worship services “will be supplemented by a book study series for an increasing majority of parishioners at both parishes who are relatively new to the Episcopal Church,” the parishes said in their application.