Two 2021 Walton Awards, 18 new fellowship grants, are announced

(PNS) Two new worship communities, The Open Table in Kansas City and Ormewood Church in Atlanta, will receive Sam and Helen Walton Awards in 2021.

At Pine Ridge Ministries, participants built a prayer canyon behind the church on the way to Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. (Courtesy photo of Pine Ridge Ministries)

The Open Table, which is making an impact on its community with its anti-racism training, plans to spend its $ 30,000 award on renovating its sanctuary to encourage live streaming and hybrid worship. The Open Table provides space for conversations about theology based on contemplation and liberation twice a month, and also plans to improve its sound, video, and lighting functions.

When The Open Table received a Walton Award, Rev. Dr. Paul Rock of Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, whose church has been a partner since The Open Table was founded in 2015, “fantastic news.”

Ormewood Church has similar plans to upgrade the live streaming and hybrid worship space with a purse of $ 20,000. The previous PC (USA) Church, Ormewood Presbyterian, closed in 2016, but the Greater Atlanta Presbytery retained the property, which is in a green space in a growing neighborhood.

In 2017 Rev. Jenelle Holmesbegan initiated the process of establishing a new church in Ormewood Park. Ormewood recently began holding Home: Conversations on Membership sessions in which some of the 80 to 100 people in their orbit shared stories about how they belong to the Church.

When Holmes heard that Ormewood Church had received a Walton Award, he was thrilled.

“After a year like us, damn it,” she said. “It’s like a pandemic present.”

Quotes from the anniversary participants in the Bon Air Juvenile Correction Center. (Photo courtesy Voices of Jubilee)

Below is the final round of approved mission program grants for 18 new worship communities. Those who receive grants from the Mission Development Resources Committee (MDRC) on behalf of the Presbyterian Mission Agency are listed, followed by the presbytery and synod to which they belong, and a brief description of their mission and service.

US $ 10,000 Seed Grant Recipient

Recipient of a $ 30,000 Growth Grant

  • Pine Ridge Ministries (Wyoming Presbytery, Synod of the Rocky Mountains) had 120 people from his worshiping community and beyond tied a piece of cloth to a cross during Holy Week. Then they traveled to Carlile Junction, Wyoming – some up to an hour away – for Easter to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Due to the spotty internet service, Pine Ridge Ministries continued to pray together twice a month during the pandemic. The outdoor services inspired her to build a prayer canyon behind her church. Since it is on the way to the Devils Tower National Monument, the church area is often explored by passers-by who leave notes about how they encountered God.

Grants for the missions program are provided by the Racial Justice and Intercultural Women Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The grants support the transformation work of new worship communities and middle councils.

In 2012, the 220th General Assembly of the PC (USA) declared a commitment to a church-wide movement that led to the creation of 1001 worship communities over the next 10 years. At the grassroots level, almost 600 different new worship communities have formed across the country.

by Paul Seebeck, Presbyterian Intelligence Service

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