Fall Grants Application Available
The application for Fall Ministry Grants is now available. The Commission on Ministry and Development offers grants twice a year to parish projects that strengthen the congregation’s identity and purpose, deepens the congregation’s engagement with the local community, or fosters healthy and effective organizational dynamics within the parish. Applications for the fall grants are due by October 5, 2019.
We’ve got a number of interesting programs going on around the diocese as a result of the support that parishes have received from recent Ministry Grants. Here are three interesting ministries that are starting all involving ministries with children and parents. We hope that they inspire you to try out something new in your own parishes!
Working with Children with Disabilities at Christ Church, Whitefish Bay
Christ Church Episcopal, Whitefish Bay received a grant to create a more inclusive church environment for children living with disabilities. We were motivated to start this project by the current children we serve and by the children we have yet to reach. Christ Church leaders felt there was more they could do to welcome children with special needs and their families.
We have created a small team including our Children’s Ministry Coordinator, our Senior Warden, and a church member with a background in children’s psychiatry. The first steps were guided by two resources: Child by Child: Supporting Children with Learning Differences and Their Families by Susan Richardson and Rhythms of Grace: Worship and Faith Formation for Children and Families with Special Needs by Audrey Scanlan and Linda Snyder. The Volunteer Church by Leith Anderson and Jill Fox will guide us on ideas on how to mobilize the congregation around this initiative. We will continue to learn more about materials and best practices by research, training, and presentations the grant will help us secure this year.
Children’s Ministry Coordinator
A New Sunday School at St. Luke’s, Racine
On All Saints’ Day and the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, St. Luke's welcomed three children (and one adult) into the Body of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism. Following these baptisms, I was approached by a member of the parish, Leah Nakamura, who made a startling declaration, "I'm not going to say the baptismal promises anymore!" "That's right! Until we at St. Luke's can honestly say that we who ‘witness these vows do all in our power to support these persons in their life in Christ,’ I'm not going to make the promise."
There's no denying she had a solid point. St. Luke's hasn't had formalized Christian Education for young people for quite some time. We have very few active children in the parish, and this little spurt of baptisms has been a sign of renewed life in the parish. What happened next, however, was a true sign of God's grace and continual outpouring of provision. "I'm going to start a Children's Christian Education program," Leah continued. And less than two weeks later, I was given a detailed proposal with needed supplies, a plan for recruiting adults to assist, and her commitment to lead the program, lending her decades of experience in the church as a Christian educator.
Spurred on by Leah's enthusiasm and faithfulness, St. Luke's is hosting a Safeguarding God's Children training on September 7. We already have four adults committed to attend. We have six members of a newly formed Children's Christian Formation committee who are responsible for purchasing supplies, designing curriculum, and recruiting other participation. We plan to kick off our program in the fall, offering Children's formation during our 10 am service for any age child. One year ago, we had two potential children, and now we are thrilled to have eight potential children, all of them seven years and younger. To some it might seem too young to start; to St. Luke's however, it's simply making good on our baptismal promises.
Incredible Years Parenting Class at St. Paul’s, Watertown
St. Paul’s, Watertown will be offering parenting classes for thirteen sessions this fall.
I applied for the grant for two reasons: One is that I am the Shared Mission Group representative to Jefferson County Children’s Services, and, as such, I sit on the Citizens Review Panel to review their services for prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. As part of that, I am an independent reviewer of their foster care plans, and I see the cause and effect of children needing to be placed outside the home. The second reason is that of course, we run Mary’s Room, and I see a need for positive role modeling for parenting with many of the parents who visit.
Jefferson County has excellent programming, and one of those programs they run is the Incredible Years Curriculum for parents. I asked if I could partner with them to provide this course in Watertown where it would be more accessible to the Watertown population rather than having to travel to Jefferson.
They agreed that they would supply the teachers, and we would supply the space, pizza, gas cards and childcare for parents attending the class. It is scheduled for August, and we are in the registration phase now. I distributed the poster (attached) to the Shared Mission Group, and to hand out at Mary’s Room and Summer Sandwiches in the Park (another Shared Mission Group initiative we help with).
I am hopeful we can recruit and have fun with this. I have my volunteers lined up and ready to go!
Again, grant applications are due by October 5, 2019. You've got some time to start dreaming of new endeavors!