by Bill Mous
Five years ago, synod council approved an innovative grant program designed to support new ministry initiatives or initiatives that deepen or broaden the scope of current ministries.
The goal is to provide financial resources to launch transformational, creative, innovative and inspiring ministries that are both missional and vision-centred.
Since its inception, the Walking on Water (WOW) grants discernment team has received more than 65 applications from parishes and related ministries, in all regions of the diocese. Each year the team meets to review applications and ultimately hears pitches from applicants about why their dream for ministry should receive funds.
One of this year’s recipients is Holy Trinity Welland, whose dream for ministry involved renovating their antiquated kitchen facilities, enabling them to serve better meals to the hundreds of people who use their food and hygiene bank. They are also expanding their hospitality ministry to include food delivery to vulnerable people in their community.
Warden John Wellwood said receiving their WOW Grant generated “a new level of enthusiasm within our Church members and enabled conversations about additional opportunities to serve our community at large”.
The WOW grants program is supported by the annual growth of funds from the sale of several church properties, which have been set aside for this purpose. While applicants can apply for up to $20,000, the average grant awarded is closer to $7,500.
At a critical moment in their history, St. Matthew’s House Hamilton received funds to complete a strategic plan for their upcoming annual general meeting. “With these funds we have been able to engage our community, our staff and most importantly those who use our services, to help inform our board on the direction we need to take in the years ahead,” said Board Chair Barbara Busing, who is a parishioner at St. James Dundas.
“Thanks to the WOW grant we believe that we have a clearer future ahead after listening to advice from many people who know and love St. Matthew’s House as we do.”
The vast majority of applications are funded to some degree, as the intention of the program is to build up the ministry of the diocese. In 2018, the WOW Grants team approved ten funding proposals totaling just over $90,000.
The next call for applications is expected in the fall of 2018.
The Reverend Canon Bill Mous is the diocesan Director of Justice, Community and Global Ministries, Communications Coordinator.