Another round of DREAM Grant application reviews are in the books, and three more congregations within the Synod of the Trinity region have been selected to receive $10,000 from the Presbyterian Mission Agency that will help them start new ministries in their communities. DREAM Grants, which stands for Developmental, Risky, Experimental, Adaptive Mission, are the result of funds that have been given to support historic missions of the PC(USA), particularly among racial ethnic and rural populations.
In February during the first round of DREAM Grant reviews, three entities from within the Synod of the Trinity received $10,000 DREAM Grants. A third and final round of DREAM Grant reviews will be held later this year.
The following is a description of the programs that were awarded DREAM Grants in the Synod of the Trinity:
GARDEN INITIATIVE, Broad Street Ministry, Presbytery of Philadelphia
The Garden Initiative is “a new agricultural program that will enable the Broad Street Ministry worshiping community to invest in the neighborhoods where they live, deepen their relationships with one another and grow as disciples who care for the land and Philadelphia’s most vulnerable people,” the application describes.
Broad Street Ministry already provides seven weekly meals, and this Garden Initiative will allow the chefs to serve locally-harvested vegetables and herbs to guests throughout the week.
“The program is in full swing, with 233 volunteer hours logged and 43 pounds of produce offered to the Hospitality Collaborative,” said the Rev. Samantha Evans. “The Garden Committee is prayerfully creating and sustaining the program, and we are all so thankful and feel so blessed to receive this grant so that we may continue to build and dream.”
Because Broad Street Ministry pulls its congregants from around the city of Philadelphia, it has partnered with other area churches and community organizations in order to offer regionally-based gardening opportunities.
“The Garden Initiative provides congregants with further opportunities to be disciples who tend gardens and present the harvest as an offering so that BSM may continue to serve nutritious meals to vulnerable Philadelphians,” the applications says.
THE GROUNDS CAFÉ, Langcliffe Presbyterian Church, Lackawanna Presbytery
A proposed community coffee shop in Avoca, PA, The Grounds Café of Langcliffe Presbyterian Church is being billed as a gathering place, education center and family-friendly entertainment hub. The purpose of The Grounds is to provide a space where people can enjoy a drink or light lunch and also a place where people can meet and socialize. The Grounds can also be used by book clubs, for craft parties and for live music.
“Our hope is that, by being a welcoming environment for the whole community, relationships will be strengthened and new friendships will be formed,” the DREAM Grant application reads. “Our mission is to be a coffee shop and community center that serves high-quality, locally-sourced, fair trade food and drink, hosts groups and events that foster a sense of community, provides a safe, welcoming space for people of all ages, provides opportunities for employment to those who seek to put Christian values into practice and provides opportunities for community service. Our vision is that we will become a connected, serving and growing community grounded in the Christian calling to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.”
It’s hoped that the Grounds Cafe will open in the spring of 2017.
“The Grounds Cafe is going to deliver a place for all ages of our community to feel supported and loved,” said manager Courtney Golden, “a place where all community members feel welcome and safe. We are going to bring our community of Avoca together through the means of coffee, consistency and positivity. We have plans to outsource our menu in order to support local business. We plan on hosting events in worship, community service and music/art. Our mission is to serve the community even if that is by starting their day off by treating them with respect, love and, of course, coffee.
“Being a part of such an amazing project is a ‘dream’ come true. This Café opens doors to an immeasurable positive impact living Christian values can have on a community. Being a recipient of the DREAM Grant is just another reminder that God is guiding our team. We are following his plan with passion and love.”
MAKING A JOYFUL NOISE: MUSIC BRIDGING THE GAPS, Second United Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh Presbytery
Citing a school district that is facing many challenges, has seen the closing of a borough high school, been experiencing cutbacks of elementary school teachers and the loss of extra-curricular activities, Second United PC of Pittsburgh is proposing to offer a music program for community youth. But the opportunities will not be limited to just students.
“With this DREAM initiative, Second UP will be able to offer vocal and instrumental musical opportunities for children, young people and, hopefully, interested adults in this neighborhood as well,” the application explains.
The church currently hosts a weekly Kids’ Club that is growing, and the plan is to hire a music teacher to complement that existing program. The church building is located near a small park that includes a community garden. The vision is that music rehearsals and performances will be held outdoors in an attempt to create community awareness for the program.
“The addition of musical opportunities will also open the door to community-based conversations as we envision other ways to improve daily life and improve an atmosphere of trust and goodwill in our congregation and community,” said the Rev. Deborah Warren.