New Episcopal Communities

Questions and Responses regarding the grant application for Mission Enterprise Zones & New Church Starts

August 6, 2013

This is an accumulated list of questions and responses from ministry leaders across the Episcopal Church. We will update this list with fresh questions and discerned responses, as they come to us.


1.) After reading the application, my question is, must this be a new ministry?  We have a ministry in place that needs to be expanded or perhaps we have laid groundwork for a new ministry.  Can you give me some guidance about this?

Response: Resolution AO73 asks that “each Mission Enterprise Zone feature a strategic plan to start or redevelop a congregation that is intentionally multi-cultural, incorporating the presence and leadership of under-represented generations, socio-economic groups, races, ethnicities and/or languages…” So the resolution makes room for both of the options you’ve named: starting a new ministry as well as redeveloping an existing ministry, as long as that congregation can demonstrate the collective commitment to incorporate the PRESENCE and LEADERSHIP of under-represented generations, socio-economic groups, races, ethnicities and/or languages. We have so many Episcopal Churches that would experience some measure of benefit from expansion or revitalization. This funding is for those ministries that can offer a strategic plan to live fully into AO73’s description.

2.) The application form is all online. Do I need to complete it all in one sitting and then send it in?

Response: No, you can print out the PDF form as a guide for your fact-finding and planning process, here. The online form has all of the help dialogue attached to each field that you can actually treat as a tutorial for each of the questions. I would print out the PDF version and then gather up all of the information. Try to have all of the information available and in a Word Document so that you can copy and paste your answers in the dialogue boxes.

3.) We want to start to start a ministry with Latino Hispanic peoples and physically build a church since we have been given land. Can these Mission Enterprise Funds be used for “bricks and mortar?”

Response: Because so many of our dioceses have no money for the other costs of new ministry development, this might not rank as a high priority application. Many of the applications coming in are asking for help with funding leadership and organizing/planting/gathering community skills. The answer to your question is not a “No!” It’s just a reminder that the hope was to offer funding in places where there was no funding available outside of this 1st Mark of Mission possibility.

4.) What about forming a new Spanish-speaking congregation at the facilities of an inner city Anglo church?

Response: This scenario you are describing sounds like a good fit for matching funds from the 1st Mark of Mission Fund. Reverend Anthony Guillen is ready to consult with you and share our best learnings for ministry ventures like these from across the Episcopal Church, as well as the Lutheran Church. You can reach Anthony at The Rev. Canon Anthony Guillén

5.) I would like to know whether each diocese can only partner with one congregation or more than one in the matching grant of 1st Mark funding and partnership.

Response: Resolution AO73 calls for Enterprise “zones.” The zone can be “defined as a geographic area, as a group of congregations or as an entire diocese.” In other words, you as spiritual leaders are encouraged to ask, “How are we called to bless what the Spirit’s up to in our context? What kind of a networked approach to ministry collaboration would serve this best?” Tell us that you hosted this discerning conversation and then let us know how we might partner with you!

6.) Is it possible to present a proposal which involves inter-diocesan (e.g. three dioceses) collaboration for a missioner for marginal communities (e.g. Hmong & Southeast Asian communities scattered as neighborhood clusters in random diocesan contexts?)

Response: Not only is it possible – it is being encouraged! We are also pursuing ecumenical partnerships (inter-denominational) and inter-faith partnerships! The goal here is to join God in “mission and evangelism that engages under-represented groups, including youth and young adults, people of color, poor and working-class people, people with a high-school diploma or less, and/or people with little or no church background or involvement.” The hope is that we can demonstrate the practices of mission and evangelism more than the development of resources or the creation of positions. I personally would hope that if a missioner position is funded, it is for the sake of sponsoring and sustaining worshipping communities in those neighborhood clusters. I also would hope that we offer comprehensive reflection and observation on what we are to learn from leaders in these Hmong & Southeast Asian communities!

7.) The maximum match that a qualified diocese and congregation can receive is up to $100/diocese. T or F?

Response: T

8.) Are funds available for funding a weekend coffee house in a rural setting with no liturgical presence within a 50 mile circle that contains 34,000 people?

Response: As long as it is “intentionally multi-cultural, incorporating the presence and leadership of under-represented generations, socio-economic groups, races, ethnicities and/or languages…”

9.) Does re-planting a church count as a new church start? (We are basically planting a new church out of an old one.)

Response: Yes, it can. The plan and the actual strategy proposed in the application will verify for the Executive Council subcommittee that this is a New Church Start, instead of a redevelopment.

10.) So can the diocese start up a mission enterprise zone in parallel with congregations that want to be planted or replanted? Then the question is, if one requests $, can those funds be used for mission enterprise zone and the "more than one plant or redevelopment"?

Response: Yes, as long as the plan is to offer ministry with “under-represented groups, including youth and young adults, people of color, poor and working-class people, people with a high-school diploma or less, and/or people with little or no church background or involvement,” this sounds like an ideal “zone.”

11.) I get the point of having matching grants as far as diocesan buy-in is concerned. What about underfunded dioceses, however? How does this avoid being a rich get richer and poor stay poorer situation?

Response: two weeks ago, my colleagues at the Episcopal Church Center reminded me that the original hopes for this 1st Mark of Mission funding were to fund ministry in places where it could not normally happen for the lack of local resources. If you are in a setting where you will struggle to raise the matching funds, let’s have a conversation. Invite your Bishop or your Diocesan Leadership team to contact Tom Brackett at The Rev. Thomas Brackett and let’s explore creative approaches to make the funding happen. We would like nothing more than to discover with you the loaves and fishes that will be transformed into food enough for the 5000! (I read about that somewhere … !)

12.) For those of us who are getting established in a new context right now or would need a bit more time than between now and Sept 28 to find partners and funding, is there another grant cycle this triennium?

Response: After collaboration with our Lutheran peers, we have decided to make this a “rolling application” process. We will continue to receive applications after the Executive Council meets in October. Our hope is to release funding as soon after review as possible. In short, the rest of the triennium will be “open season” until the funds run out. The sooner you apply, the more likely it is that there will be funds to release.

13.) Is a new community alongside an existing community a 'plant?’

Response: It could well be. Whether or not it qualifies for AO73’s description of a MEZ or a New Church Start depends on how it plans to live into this call!

14.) Do entitled, post-Christian, spiritual-but-not-religious, Californians count as an under-represented group in the Episcopal Church?

Response: Please don't be limited by the idea of "under-represented groups." People who don't go to church — never did or left a while ago — are absolutely people with whom we need to be in relationship.