By Sarah Gioe
Established in 2004, our synod’s Wider Church Fund funds non-profit programs outside the synod’s operating budget. (Congregations, individuals, and hunger programs are not eligible.) The Benevolence Task Force works with Bishop Rimbo to review grant applications and make funding recommendations to the Synod Council.
In 2014, it was our joy to give away over $200,000 to 12 well-deserving non-profits. Here is a snapshot of how these grants are supporting our partners in ministry:
The Association of Lutheran Church Musicians received $15,000 to strengthen the ministry of worship and music in the Lutheran Church. The association provides educational, spiritual, and theological growth opportunities and encourages the creation and publication of quality materials in the areas of music and theology.
The Christ for the World Chapel at JFK Airport was granted $10,000 to assist in providing a divine presence within the airport community and meeting the spiritual and religious needs of passengers and airport employees. Weekly worship services are held and a chaplain is available for pastoral counseling, spiritual guidance, or in times of crisis.
On Staten Island, Eger Health Care and Rehabilitation Center will use its $15,000 grant to support a full-time clinical pastoral education resident for a year, which will enhance their spiritual care services to residents.
The ecumenical Emmaus House of Harlem is grateful for the $25,000 in support, allowing them to serve the increasing numbers of women, children, and families who are come to their door in need of food, clothing, ESL tutoring, and GED preparation.
The Gayle Lyn Kliever Student Fund was thrilled to be awarded $10,000 to support deserving Tanzanian students in need who are working hard to obtain an education while also caring for family members. This year, the GLK Student Fund sent six girls to primary school—and five of them went to Kibeta English Medium Primary School (partner ministry in our companion diocese)!
The Lutheran Church in Liberia received $25,000 for the Trauma and Healing Reconciliation Program, which has served as a reconciler between victimizers and victims of the civil war in Liberia since 1991. In this post-war period, this kind of intervention helps the country move toward real peace and sustainable development.
The gift of $20,000 to Lutheran Music Program serves as an investment in the musical education to students, as over 150 young musicians from across the country come together for the Lutheran Summer Music Academy each year. Over four weeks, teens perform in small and large ensembles, take private lessons, learn about Lutheran hymnody, and gather regularly for worship.
In order to develop and institute a Future Leaders Academy, Lutheran Schools Association was granted $7,500. This intensive experience will equip current Lutheran school teachers with blended learning modules centered on curriculum development, organizational leadership, church and school relationships and more.
Koinonia leaders were thankful to receive $29,400 to offer a "Spanish Language and Latino Ministry Intensive" and an intergenerational summer program primarily in Spanish this summer. The hope is to increase participation in Koinonia's mission by Spanish-speaking Lutherans, thereby giving a broader multicultural population access to outdoor ministry.
The Parish Resource Center of Long Island was awarded $5,000 for their work in providing faith communities with professional consultants, educational webinars and workshops, and practical resources. The staff helps clergy and lay people plan programs, select curriculum and study materials, and train church leaders.
After funding from other sources was cut, Seafarers & International House was blessed with a gift of $20,000 to continue housing and supporting asylum seekers who have recently been released from detention. Seafarers provides free guestrooms to refugees for one to three months, in addition to assisting with employment, education, legal matters, and acculturation.
In Brooklyn, $20,000 was given to The Healing Center, dedicated to the intervention and prevention of family violence. This grant will fund their "Daughters of the Lotus" program, for girls ages 13-16 who witness and are victimized by violence in the home or through teen dating violence.
Blessings to all of our ministry partners! It is a pleasure to serve with you.