The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America announced the recipients of the 2012 Church Planting Grants in early December.
The grants, which total $103,700.00, will be distributed across the OCA and strike a balance between first-time and ongoing recipients.
“The Church Planting Grant program, which is funded by the generosity of the faithful of the OCA and through the triennial budget, assists fledgling missions to fund full-time priests by means of a three-year, step-down grant,” said Priest John Parker, who chairs the OCA Department of Evangelization. “The funds are given specifically towards the full-time salary of the local pastor. While there are numerous faithful priests across our Church who are bi-vocational in order to provide for themselves and/or their families, the planting grant aims to recognize the benefits to both parish and pastor when the priest is able to devote his full vocation and attention to his flock.
“It is certainly hoped that our Church will be able to help fund and develop more and more missions each year,” he added. “Despite over $100,000.00 in grants this year, there are still missions whom we are not able to fund, and many, many missions who have yet to apply. In recent years, including 2012, the Grant also is extended to parishes that are re-forming and/or just arriving to the point of committing to a full-time pastor. Please remember these missions in your prayers.”
The following missions will receive funding in 2012.
- Holy Resurrection Church, North Augusta, GA/Aiken, SC, will enjoy a second-year grant. Priest Robert Royer is capably leading this Diocese of the South mission, which straddles two states, whose members meet in a storefront in Georgia.
- Saint Peter the Aleut Church, Lake Havasu City, AZ, will receive a second-year partial grant. Priest Peter Henry is the first full-time priest in the parish’s two decade history, and is doing excellent work to strengthen this mission of the Diocese of the West.
- Saint Aidan Church, Cranbrook, BC, Canada, also will receive a second-year partial grant. Priest Richard Rene, some of whose writings were published recently by Conciliar Press, leads this mission of the Archdiocese of Canada.
- Saint Nicholas of Myra Church, Lawrence, KS, will receive a full first-year grant. A mission of the Diocese of the Midwest, Saint Nicholas is the resurrection of a mission with a difficult and sad history. Renamed and refocused under the guidance of Priest Joshua Lollar, the mission shows great promise. It is located in close proximity to the University of Kansas campus.
- Nativity of the Lord Church, Shreveport, LA, will receive a full first-year grant. Priest Jason Foster, a recent graduate of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, has returned to the town in which he had served prior to his conversion to Orthodox Christianity as a Baptist pastor. The mission, to quote Father John Parker, “has grown in a skyrocket fashion in its first year.” The faithful will celebrate their first anniversary as a mission of the Diocese of the South on December 25!
“Thank you to all those who applied this year, and congratulations to those who received grants,” said Father John. “I encourage all interested missions to take a serious look at their parochial life and at the requirements of the grant, and to apply in the coming year.”
In related news, Father John will travel to Mexico in March, at which time he will be introduced to the vibrant and varied mission work in Mexico. He has also launched a new podcast with Ancient Faith Radio, titled “Lord, Send Me!”.