WOW Grants Making a Splash in Niagara

Musical duo Infinitely More (Allison Lynn and Gerald Flemming) worked with St. Thomas, St. Catharines to produce a series of inspirational television programs supported with a WOW grant. 
Musical duo Infinitely More (Allison Lynn and Gerald Flemming) worked with St. Thomas, St. Catharines to produce a series of inspirational television programs supported with a WOW grant. 
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Walking on Water (WOW) grants support innovative and missionally inspired initiatives. Through WOW, parishes and affiliated ministries like ecumenical campus ministry, Camp Canterbury Hills, The Bridge, and St. Matthew’s House have boldly followed God’s invitation to be the hands, the face, and the presence of Jesus in their communities and beyond.

Established by Bishop Bird in 2014 and funded through returns on a designated investment, WOW grants have supported 70 initiatives, providing almost $600,000. WOW grants have supported the creation of gardens that offer rest and holy space to neighbours, kitchens that feed neighbours and strangers, and innovative worship services for those we do not see at traditional services. Grants have underpinned missional projects like a children’s theatre company, adventure camps, community hubs, and new ways for youth to connect. God planted mustard seeds that cross cultural barriers and digital divides—supported by WOW grants. We have walked on water with a venture that loans tablet computers to isolated seniors to allow them to connect to family and their faith community, and other grants that help to reintegrate people exiting incarceration. Several community dinners, meal programs, and gardens are nourishing the lives of recipients and volunteers because Niagara’s WOW initiative was able to provide the initial funding. Through the WOW grants, we are all part of transforming people’s lives across the Niagara diocese.

The WOW Grant Discernment Committee, a group of volunteers supported by Canon Christyn Perkons, director of congregational support and development, and Gillian Doucet Campbell, director of stewardship and development, had the delightful experience of recently hearing presentations by the 2022 applicants. The team, after much prayer and deliberation, awarded WOW grants to the following initiatives:

St. Thomas, St. Catharines with Infinitely More for a series of inspirational television programs that brings the Gospel into people’s homes and hearts through music and a message;

Holy Trinity, Welland for a daily community breakfast program provided by 31 teams of five-six volunteers and blessed by a commitment to prayer and relationship-building between guests and volunteers;

Grace, Waterdown for their project that will employ, train, and nurture the skillsets of persons receiving support from the Ontario Disability Support Program as these new employees enhance the other community projects at Grace – Grace Community Gardens, Lunch with Grace, and the Grace foodbank; and

Anglicans in Action, the social justice arm of the Greater St. Catharines parishes who, following a successful pilot, have launched Meals to Go which provides meals to single people with no ability to access food preparations tools, eating utensils, and cooking facilities.Through grants totalling $54,480, it is an honour to support these innovative and spirit-filled ministries across Niagara as they are surely signs of Being Called to Life and Compelled to Love!

  • Christyn Perkons is Director of Congregational Support and Development for the Diocese of Niagara. work is oriented towards supporting parishes in their journey towards becoming mission-oriented, healthy, and viable communities of disciples. She assists parishes with clarity of vision, deepening of mission, radical hospitality, faith development, spiritual growth, volunteer recruitment and management, and strategic planning. This work happens through workshops, consultations, training sessions, and resource provision. Christyn also oversees the diocesan Natural Church Development ministry as well as volunteer CSD consultants; both re-emerging programs.