Maine congregations serve their neighbors: Eight grants awarded to congregational outreach ministries

Campers and staff at Tree Street Youth, a summer program in Lewiston

In the early 1990s the Diocese of Maine launched a capital campaign called Foundations for Ministry (FFM). A portion of the income from the campaign is used each year in a grants program administered by the Commission on Outreach and Services.

In May, the Chair of the Commission, the Rev. Jeri Williams of the Aroostook Episcopal Cluster, welcomed nine grant application for outreach ministries across the Diocese of Maine. With $20,000 to grant from FFM funding and the requests totaling $40,100, members of the Commission’s Grant Committee had many hard choices to make.

The grants are awarded based on how closely they adhere to the following criteria:

a. a ministry of a congregation or the Diocese;
b. demonstrates leadership and abilities of the laity;
c. demonstrates evidence of cooperating with other programs where a partnership is possible rather then duplicating efforts;
d. indicates clearly what ministry the grant would strengthen;
e. represents start-up funding for new opportunities;
f. supports ongoing programs that have proved successful by involving others and can be expanded by additional funding
g. potentially uses the grant as seed money to generate additional funding;
h. funds programs not individuals;

Upon careful reading and deliberation, the members awarded the following eight grants for 2011:

Tree Street Youth Program at Trinity Jubilee Center
Trinity Episcopal Church, Lewiston
Tree Street Youth is a new program to provide safe, structured summer youth programming to underserved children living in downtown Lewiston. Activities center around education, the arts and athletics. Considering Trinity’s growing afterschool program, which currently serves 80 children each afternoon throughout the school year, a summer program – which also offers a much-needed nutritious lunch – was a natural next step. This is especially true as funding to help Lewiston children attend local camps has recently ended.

Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Jubilee Center
Christ Church, Biddeford
The Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center is a drop-in center that offers hospitality and support to all who pass through our doors. Due to the recession, the number of people in need of assistance in downtown Biddeford has grown exponentially. Services offered include daily breakfast and snacks, a staffed career center, an essentials pantry and a clothing pantry, health programming and many other services of hospitality.

Emmaus House
Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Portland
Modeled after the Episcopal Service Corps, Emmaus house is an intentional Christian Community for seven to ten young adults 18 to 30 who live together in a community of prayer and service in the recently renovated Deanery on the Cathedral grounds. Residents will be supervised by a lay chaplain who will receive a small stipend. More than just for the residents, Emmaus House will also serve as a focal point and gathering place for young adult ministry in the diocese and an outreach to young adults in the greater Portland area.

Everyday Basics Essentials Pantry
St. Mark’s Church, Augusta
The St. Mark’s Essentials Pantry bridges the ever-widening economic gap in the Capitol region through the distribution of basic items that are not provided by supplemental programs such as food stamps. The grant will be used to replenish supplies offered by the pantry including, diapers, diaper wipes, shampoo, feminine hygiene supplies, toothpaste, toothbrushes, laundry detergent, soap/body wash, and adult incontinence protection. All items distributed to guests are free. In 2010, 1,673 men, women and children received essentials basic to human dignity and self-care.

Reconnecting Youth
St. George’s Church, Sanford
Reconnecting Youth offers programs for elementary-aged, at-risk children in the Sanford community as well as “Gathering Grounds,” a teen coffeehouse. This grant will help the program expand to offer a workshops for parents and to host family dinners. St. George’s believes that collaboration with among churches, schools and social agencies can make a big difference in the lives of children.

Terrific Thursdays Children’s Program
St. Thomas’ Church, Winn
Begun in the summer of 2010, Terrific Thursdays provides a weekly program for children in the Winn/Mattawamkeag area with activities designed to build self-esteem and reinforce education skills as well as provide lunch and snacks. In an area of Central Maine where unemployment and poverty are common, Terrific Thursdays steps in to offer a summer program at no cost and has become the foundation for a growing Sunday School program at St. Thomas’, Winn. This grant will specifically assist in the construction of a restroom adjacent to the program space.

The Linen Closet
St. Martin’s Church, Palmyra
The Linen Closet is a program to provide gently-used linens and towels to victims of fire and other needy people in the communities of Palmyra, Pittsfield, Detroit, St. Albans, Hartland and Newport. The people of St. Martin’s envision this ministry as one that will fulfill the Gospel call of Matthew 25:38: “When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or see you naked and clothe you?” This grant will be used to construct a storage and distribution area in the parish hall.

Brewer Ecumenical Food Cupboard
St. Patrick’s Church, Brewer
The Ecumenical Food Cupboard has been going strong for 28 years. Because of growth of the program and the demand for its services, storage and distribution have been in separate facilities for the last ten years. This grant will allow the ministry to permanently house both functions under one roof and help sustain the program which now serves 160 families from five towns each month.

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One response to “Maine congregations serve their neighbors: Eight grants awarded to congregational outreach ministries

  1. Carol Huntington

    Can you tell us the names and locations of the members of the Commission?