Diocese of California Congregational Development Small Grants

According to the vision of the Diocese for Beloved Community, Church Vitality “encourages evangelism, growth, and new expressions of church, and adopts missional practices of worship and outreach…[Vital churches] express creativity and joy in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The Congregational Ministries Working Group is pleased to offer a one-time small grants program in 2018 to support congregations throughout the Diocese in accessing training and leadership development courses in church vitality, with a particular emphasis on the Vitality Practice of Embedded Community. This program is intended to support deeper engagement in our local communities, encourage a team-based approach to help embed learning in congregations, to share learning across the Diocese, and to provide seed funding for small experiments in community engagement.

While there are many courses and conferences that can assist in such work, and we do not want to set one up as the way, we are focusing our grant-making efforts this year on a list of those that both meet the above criteria and have good reports. Even more than the particular course; however, our emphasis is on the intention for a team of lay and clergy to go from a congregation (at least 2-3 individuals). A team attending gives far greater chance for the learning to be embedded in a congregation and shared. We will have a gathering in 2019 of all grant recipients to harvest and share learning across the Diocese. Deadline for applications to this program is Friday, November 30, 2018!

Recommended Courses / Conferences

  • Organizing for Mission: These trainings and gatherings equip leaders to practice the arts of faith-filled community organizing and grounded spirituality, with a framework of racial and economic equity to generate transformation in our lives, congregations, and communities. See the flyer for more details on the training and gathering options, and be in touch with Canon Abbott if interested. Also, click here for more background on the Organizing for Mission Cohort.

  • Missional Voices National Gathering, June 13-15, 2019, Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans, LA: Missional Voices is a weekend of thinking, planning, and dreaming about the future of missional communities and innovative ministries in The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. This is a place where dynamic incubation of new ideas is the norm – not the exception – and where people doing uncommon ministry find support and encouragement. Click here for more information.
  • College for Congregational Development, various dates in 2019: The College is a comprehensive training program that seeks to nurture and develop congregational development practitioners from within existing parish lay and clergy leadership. Click here for more information about trainings in the Diocese of Olympia and here for more information about trainings in the Diocese of Northern California.
  • Organizing for Public Witness at CDSP, 2019 dates to be announced: This class covers conceptual studies and practical skill-building in how to engage the public mission of the church in the world. Click here for more details (scroll to bottom of page).
  • Design Thinking in Congregations, February 2, 2019 (tentative): This workshop will be hosted by DioCal specifically for this grant program to apply design thinking for creative problem solving in congregational ministry. Through Gathering Inspiration, Generating Ideas, Making Ideas Tangible, and Sharing the Story, we will deepen our missional impulses and generate creative responses to ministry questions.
  • Forma 2019 - Formed to Proclaim, January 23-25, Hilton Indianapolis. This conference has two themes: Liturgy and Evangelism. The Evangelism theme will discuss formation in missional communities, forming for evangelism, and what we can learn from the modern evangelical movement within the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. For more information, click here
  • Called to Transformation - An Asset Based Approached to Engaging Church and Community, October 22–25: Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, CA: A partnership between TEC and ERD, this workshop teaches the theory and the practice of ABCD work, and then invites participants to begin the process of creating a working plan to implement an ABCD project in their own ministry community. Note: There are two-tracks: Spanish-Language and English Language. If interested, please apply as soon as possible. There are limited slots available, and it is expected to fill up quickly.  Click here for more information

Grant Criteria

Grant Amount: Grants will be made up to $2,000 per congregation. Covered costs may include registration, travel, meals, and lodging.

Teams: Grants will be made for teams of at least 2-3 individuals per congregation. Teams must have at least one lay person and cannot consist entirely of paid staff. You may send as many people as you like; however, grant funds will only be provided for up to 3 people, regardless of the cost of the course.

Courses/Workshops: Congregations may apply to attend one of the offerings on the recommended list. Funds will not be provided for programs that can be funded from other Diocesan sources. There is a some funding available for churches interested in training specifically in Christian Formation or Stewardship. Please contact those working groups directly for support.

Timeline: Grants will be made in 2018 for the listed conferences and worships occurring between October 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Application Process: Please complete the online application form. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis through November 30, 2018 or until funds are depleted for this program. An application does not guarantee funding.

2019 Grantee Gathering: All grant recipients will be expected to participate in a gathering of grantees in the fall of 2019 for shared learning and cross-pollination of ideas. The dates for that gathering will be announced by the end of 2018.

Seed Funding: A subsequent round of small seed grants (up to $500) may be available for those who complete a course, or who have been through a similar course, and who need s­­upport for small experiments to put their learning into action. These grants will be specifically targeted to projects aimed outside the walls of the Church. Details about this opportunity will be available in early 2019.


Click here to apply for the Congregational Development Grant