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Conference Announces Small Church Outreach Grant Recipients

HARTFORD (05/18/2010) -- The Connecticut Conference has awarded $50,000 to twenty-five churches under the Small Church Outreach Grant Program. The initiative offered up to $5,000 to eligible churches to assist them in launching or expanding outreach ministries that specifically addressed human needs within the local or wider community of the church. The grant was made possible through a grant awarded to the Conference by the Frank E. Clark Charitable Trust of New York City.

"The Small Church Outreach Grant program has already succeeded," said Patricia Bjorling, Associate Conference Minister for Generosity Ministries. "It encouraged churches to think of new or expanded ways to reach out to their communities, and gave many churches the confidence or spark needed to think creatively about programs that could benefit their community while making a positive impact on the culture of the church itself.

Proposals were received in April and reviewed by a selection committee of five readers. The twenty five programs receiving grants varied widely. "Selecting grant recipients among the proposals was definitely not easy," said Bjorling, "because all of the projects had merit."

Some of the programs included:

  • loaning medical equipment to local residents in need,
  • a community garden intended for local resident use,
  • learning biointensive farming methods, with planned exchanges with villages in Mexico,
  • launching a new partnership for refugee resettlement ministry,
  • starting a thrift shop for children and family items,
  • a financial literacy project for residents of a homeless shelter and chronically unemployed, and
  • developing a community welcoming program for new residents.

Funds will be distributed in June so churches can begin or continue the intended ministry. The grant requires that churches use the grant money within 12 months and submit a final project report within 3 months of completion.

Beginning in September, the Conference will post detailed descriptions of many of the Small Church Outreach Grant recipient programs in the hope that other churches will be inspired to explore similar outreach ministries in their communities.

Churches applying for the grant needed to meet “small church” criteria. This included churches located in communities under 50,000 people, with average worship attendance less than 150, and operating budgets under $250,000. Figures were based on 2000 US Census data and the 2009 UCC Yearbook.

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The Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ
United Church Center
125 Sherman Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06105
(866) 367-2822
www.ctucc.org