The New Initiative Fund grant program marked its third year as Diocesan Council met on February 23 at St. Martin’s in Palmyra. With a total of $35,000 to allocate and nearly twice that in requests from nine congregations, members of Council took seriously the hard decisions they were asked to make by studying the 99 pages of application materials prior to the meeting.
Each applicant was asked to demonstrate how their proposal to support a new or expanded ministry would conform to the Seven Criteria for Mission, approved by Diocesan Convention in October 2011.
At the end of the granting session, Council members approved six grants that ranged from $500 to $9,000. A seventh grant was tentatively approved pending additional information from the supporting congregation.
2013 New Initiative Fund awardees:
St. Margaret’s, Belfast – $9,000 – ENCOUNTERS
This ecumenical faith development program based on role-playing was developed in 2012 for Belfast area youth in grades 6 – 12. It draws in young people from several local churches as well as the un-churched. Together with lay and clergy adult leaders, they meet on equal ground to explore the word of the Lord in today’s culture. Funding from this grant will allow for the development of a manual and training resources so that the program can be replicated in other communities in Maine and beyond.
St. Thomas’, Camden – $2,500 – Health and Wellness Ministry
This ministry will partner with local congregations to encourage whole person health through integration of mind, body and spirit, to increase self-knowledge, personal responsibility, and to foster interdependence among God’s people.
Combining ancient traditions of the Christian community and the knowledge and tools of modern health care, health ministry offers the community a living witness of the healing activity of God through the local congregation.
Christ Church, Eastport – $2,300 – Journey to the Center
This ministry will encourage and deepen contemplative spiritual practice by offering the community and other churches a traveling labyrinth and labyrinth finger sets. Additionally, the labyrinth can become a part of community festivals, retreats, quiet days, and as a part of Kids’ Club, an ecumenical Christian Education program. Within a Christian context, the labyrinth can be a way to teach scripture memorization, walking meditation, prayer, and an openness to the spirit of God. For those outside of a faith tradition, the labyrinth may encourage spiritual yearning and development.
Church of the Good Shepherd, Rangeley – $500 – Day of Remembrance
At a Day of Remembrance, scheduled for the summer of 2013, Good Shepherd will collaborate with area churches and health care professionals to offer a public venue where the universal issues of death and dying in our culture are honored and to offer prayers of grief and thanksgiving for those who have died in the past two years.
St. John Baptist, Thomaston – $6,850 – Hospitality House – A Project of the Knox Homeless Coalition
St. John’s is involved with other churches in the region to restore, and revitalize the only homeless shelter in a three county area, which closed in November 2012. This is collaborative effort between the social service agencies and faith communities to house and address the needs of those in transition and without homes, particularly victims of domestic violence.
St. Bartholomew’s, Yarmouth (in partnership with St. Matthew’s, Hallowell) – $8,500 – Lectionary-based Curriculum
This project will build and implement a lectionary-based curriculum at St. Bart’s that will be shared collaboratively with St. Matthew’s with the goal of creating a three year curriculum that has been tested and is then shared with other congregations in the diocese. The curriculum would be supported by the creators who would then act as consultants for parishes implementing the curriculum in the future.
To learn more about any of the proposals, contact Canon Heidi Shott at 772.1953 x126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.