The Episcopal Church in Vermont is pleased to announce that the Grants and Loans Committee recently approved grants totaling $46,312 to support 15 projects underway across the diocese.
Most of the grant awards will be issued from the Alleluiafund, a grant fund composed entirely of individual contributions from church members who choose to give over and above their local offerings to important ministries of the diocese. One-hundred percent of monies collected into the Alleluiafund are redistributed as grants each year.
Two of the grants, representing more than a quarter of the grand total, will be issued—or partially issued—from the Walter P. Irish Fund. Established in 1998 at the bequest of Walter P. Irish, the fund is used by the Diocese of Vermont to provide assistance to congregations in communities with populations of less than 10,000 persons per Mr. Irish’s directive. In this way, the Irish Fund helps stimulate the development of new, innovative and exemplary models for small parishes and missions.
“It is always a challenge to decide which of the many creative examples of mission and ministry to support with grant funding,” said Tom Eshelman, chair of the Grants and Loans Committee. “I’d like to congratulate all of the applicants for their continued success in spreading the gospel through their works, the grant recipients for their unheralded vision, and the members of Grants & Loans Committee for their diligence and care during the rigorous selection process.”
The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Vermont, commented, “The grants process is truly a hope-filled display of Christ at work through peoples’ generosity. The fact that the Diocese was in the position to distribute nearly $47,000 in awards this quarter speaks to people’s desire to make a difference through their financial resources and congregations’ commitment to becoming more missional in their communities and beyond.”
The projects recently selected to receive grants are:
Rock Point Camp, Burlington, VT. For 87 years, Rock Point Camp (RPC) has provided a loving, supportive community for campers and counselors alike. Thanks to financial support from grants and donors—including an Alleluiafund grant in the amount of $11,000 made in 2017—RPC has been able to weather the ups and downs of enrollment, provide scholarships for deserving campers, and create a best-in-class camp experience. RPC enrollment doubled in 2016 and continues to grow. This grant helps ensure the sustainability of RPC for the upcoming camp season. $5,000
Thanks to financial support from grants and donors—including an Alleluiafund grant in the amount of $11,000 made in 2017—RPC has been able to weather the ups and downs of enrollment, provide scholarships for deserving campers, and create a best-in-class camp experience.
“Resting in the Spirit,” Newport, VT. “Resting in the Spirit” is a non-traditional, non-doctrinal worship project underway at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church to be funded in part by a grant award. Beginning this year, the Northeast Kingdom church began offering a monthly, midweek opportunity for community members—regardless of religious or non-religious affiliation—to engage in spiritual practices of music, prayer, listening, and silence. A meal provided by St. Mark’s parishioners precedes or follows services, and childcare and homework assistance are available during services. Up to $2,100 match of congregation’s contribution.
Mark’s/NEKO, Newport, VT. St. Mark’s is a founding sponsor of the Northeast Kingdom Organizing Project, a member-led, interfaith, community-based coalition focused on quality-of-life issues in Caledonia, Essex and Orleans Counties. Grant funds will help offset the costs of leadership training for the church’s NEKO participants and will provide seed money for the creation of a Mission Library where books and other resources devoted to Christian leadership will be made available. $1,000
“Feeding Ministry,” Newport, VT. In addition to the grant-worthy “Resting in the Spirit” and NEKO projects, St. Mark’s is also home to a successful food shelf that provides an average of 15 families each week with a bag of groceries and a “souper lunch” that fills the stomachs of 30 people each month with soup, bread and dessert. Grant funds will make it possible for St. Mark’s to purchase locally-sourced fruits and vegetables during the months that produce donated by another area church is unavailable. $2,000
Christ Church Full Ladle Soup Kitchen & Food Shelf, Montpelier, VT. The Full Ladle Soup Kitchen & Food Shelf at Montpelier’s Christ Episcopal Church has been offering a weekly meal, supplemental food supplies, and a caring support community for more than 30 years. Today, they also provide a hot lunch to an average of 75 people each week. While much of the food is donated by churchgoers, area restaurants, bakeries and seasonal produce growers, some staples—such a milk, butter, cheese, fruit—must be purchased. The grant funds will be used for buying food and re-stocking the pantry. $2,000
Chaplaincy to Retired Clergy, Vermont (Statewide). As one of two chaplains to retired clergy in the Vermont Diocese, the Rev. Carole Wageman has gained extensive personal and professional experience in issues facing the elderly. This year, she has been invited to present at the national Interim Ministry Network Conference in June. The grant will cover a portion of Wageman’s conference expenses and will help to offset advertising costs for a forthcoming series of eldercare workshops also under Wageman’s leadership. $1,500
Donald Davis Guest Appearance, Burlington, VT. Consistently creative in its efforts to reach new audiences, the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington will be hosting storyteller, author and minister Donald Davis for a three-part program to include a workshop exploring the effective use of stories in preaching, all-ages public performance, and Sunday homily. The event, scheduled September 14-16, 2018, is made possible in part by grant funding and parish donations. $5,000
FoodWorx Enterprises, St. Johnsbury, VT. When FoodWorx Enterprises recently shared its vision of opening a commercial bakery to provide employment, training, and caring support for formerly incarcerated individuals, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church recognized an opportunity for shared ministry and restorative justice. Grant funds will supplement contributions the church has already made toward the startup goal for this new enterprise—and will bring the community one step closer to realizing the commercial bakery and its affiliated storefront, Breakout Bakery Café. $500
Parish House Improvements, Bethel, VT. The Parish House of Christ Church, Bethel, has become a critical hub for community programs and services including WIC client sessions, the Bethel Bold Ideas Group, Bethel University for life-long learners, and church gatherings. To ensure the building’s viability today and years to come, necessary upgrades will be made with the assistance of grant funds, which include the installation of energy-efficient doors and windows. Up to $6,312 match of congregation’s contribution.
Wi-Fi Improvement Project, White River Junction, VT. Internet connectivity is a form of outreach at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where congregants welcome community organizations to utilize their space for such programs as free tax consulting, education, training, and civic meetings. Grant funds will help to offset costs of a project to extend Wi-Fi coverage approximately 200 feet from the St, Paul’s Parish House to the church building, creating a reliable and efficient network throughout the entire property. $600
Joint Urban Ministry Project, Shelburne, VT. As a supporter of the Joint Urban Ministry Project (JUMP), Trinity Episcopal Church in Shelburne has historically made cash donations toward operations costs for the downtown Burlington drop-in center, as well as provided substation support for JUMP's food ministries. This grant, in conjunction with donors’ contributions, will help fuel the JUMP Gas Card Project, through which JUMP seeks to provide a $25 gas card to those in need. The gas card is just one of many services—such as assistance with groceries, laundry, and household goods—available on a first-come-first-served basis. $500 match of congregation’s contribution.
Cambodia Mission Trip, Windsor, VT. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Windsor is making a difference across the globe by sponsoring a mission trip to rural parts of Cambodia, where volunteers will work in healthcare clinics. With modest grant funding to supplement monies already raised, the mission team will be able to purchase medical supplies, provide a stipend for each Cambodian college or medical student who serves as an interpreter, and pay for the interpreters’ food and lodging. $500 match of congregation’s contribution.
UNRWA Fundraising Challenge, Norwich, VT. For the past 11 years, the people of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Norwich have raised funds for agencies that serve groups and nations suffering from various catastrophes. This year, one of their focuses has been the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). During Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter, parishioners raised $2,100, and their contributions are being matched with grant funding. $2,100
Racial Reconciliation Team, Vermont (Statewide). The Racial Reconciliation Team (RRT) is responsible for leading the diocese’s anti-racism and racial healing efforts. As part of a recently-launched training program, all of Vermont’s Episcopal congregations are being encouraged to invite people of color from their local communities to present first-person perspectives on race in Vermont. Grants funds will enable each congregation to provide their special guests with an honorarium. $4,200
Stephen’s Columbarium, Middlebury, VT. The columbarium at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Middlebury, commissioned in late 2004, is the final resting place for many community members, and the memorial garden is a loving reminder of those whose ashes are interred there. With the columbarium having reached its maximum capacity in only 14 years, St. Stephen’s will be installing a larger, 312-space columbarium and will be remodeling its chapel to accommodate visitors indoors. $13,000