By Pr. Craig Pederson
The Minneapolis Area Synod Council’s Executive Committee and the Resurrection Fund Advisory Committee (RFAC) are pleased to announce the first round of Ministry Imagination Grant awards. Eighteen different projects have been awarded a total of $181,860.00!
Ministry Imagination Grants are funded through the Resurrection Fund of the Minneapolis Area Synod (MAS), established by the Synod Council in 2017. The Resurrection Fund is used to steward proceeds from the sale of property donated to the synod by congregations that have concluded their own ministries.
Ministry Imagination Grants are intended to offer support for new, enhanced, or expanded ministry initiatives that uniquely further the gospel, encourage growth in faith, and/or strengthen Christian service within the geographical area of the Minneapolis Area Synod.
“The response to the initial round of Ministry Imagination Grant funding was truly overwhelming,” said Dana Cossette, chair of the RFAC and a member of St. Barnabas Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Minnesota. Twenty-six applications representing thirty congregations were submitted, with total requests of over $482,000 – far exceeding the amount of funding available for distribution. “The RFAC was so impressed by the creativity of the applications and the desire of congregations to engage deeply with their local communities,” Cossette said.
ANY CONGREGATION OF THE synod may develop a proposal either independently or in a partnership that includes two or more synod congregations, or through a partnership of congregations and other ministries or service entities.
“The proposals we received highlight the remarkable giftedness and innovative spirit of our synod,” noted Bishop Svennungsen. “And, as we share the ideas and learnings gained, this can enhance the work of all our congregations.”
“The Resurrection Fund is used to steward proceeds from the sale of property donated to the synod by congregations that have concluded their own ministries.”
Some applications were deferred to the next round because they needed more information or a more detailed plan. Other applications were not awarded because they didn’t fit the grant criteria or because of changes in congregational circumstances.
Ministry Imagination Grant projects that were awarded funding included:
Bread of Life Deaf Lutheran and Bethel Lutheran, South Minneapolis, is beginning a year-long program to grow relationships between two congregations and build bridges between deaf and hearing individuals within and outside the church. The program will also educate members and the broader community about deaf culture, teach American Sign Language, and develop congregational capacity to do outreach.
First Lutheran, Columbia Heights, will initiate “Love God and Love Our Neighborhood” weekly gatherings, focusing on intentional invitation to the diverse immediate neighborhood around the church with food, art, storytelling, games, and other activities.
Holy Trinity Lutheran, New Prague, will develop a car repair ministry for low-income neighbors who cannot afford maintenance and repairs to sustain basic transportation for employment. The ministry will be housed in a newly constructed multi-purpose garage on the church property that will also serve as a workshop for congregational projects.
Mount Olivet Lutheran, Plymouth, will build a prayer wall, labyrinth, benches, and signage on the church grounds immediately adjacent to a pedestrian entrance to French Regional Park, providing public witness and welcome. The project is being developed in coordination with the park and other local organizations.
Oak Grove Lutheran, Richfield, will start “First Responders to First Responders,” a ministry of outreach and support for First Responders in Richfield, utilizing both volunteer teams and pastors.
A full list of award recipients can be found on the synod website.
The deadline for the next round of Ministry Imagination Grants is September 15. For more information, contact Pastor Craig Pederson, Assistant to the Bishop, at email@example.com. Grant procedures and criteria are available for review.