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Alliance for Greater Works Awarded $18,000 Vital Worship Grant

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) announced recently 44 Vital Worship Grant awards for their 2018-2019 Vital Worship Grants Program. Alliance for Greater Works was one of the 44 projects awarded.

“We are deeply grateful to partner with Calvin Institute to build the capacity of African-American churches in trauma-informed care,” says Sherrye Willis, Alliance for Greater Works president.

The grant projects have a variety of emphases—visual arts, music, intergenerational relationships, contemplation, movement, and more—but have as a common purpose a desire to both deepen people’s understanding of worship and strengthen practices of public worship and faith formation. Alliance for Greater Works will build the capacity of the ten African-American Faith-Based Mental Health in trauma-informed care.

Kathy Smith, leader of the Vital Worship Grants Team, said, “We are delighted to join with another group of churches, schools and organizations to learn about and engage in new practices of worship. We were grateful for a large number of excellent proposals and are eager to facilitate their learning and ours, regarding worship across North America.”

This year’s recipients include 27 congregations, one high school, six colleges and universities, one seminary, and nine other groups, including two community organizations, three denominational organizations, a retreat center, and a retirement community. They also represent 17 different Christian denominations, 25 states and two Canadian provinces. Notable this year are a number of collaborative projects between two or more congregations.

Each grant (ranging from $6,000 to $18,000) will fund a year-long project beginning in June that promotes vital worship and faith formation. Alliance for Greater Works was awarded $18,000. John Witvliet, director of the CICW, believes that the 2018 projects will help the Worship Institute in its goals to enhance the scholarly study of Christian worship and the renewal of worshiping communities across North America and beyond.

“We learn a tremendous amount from these programs,” he said. “We look forward to sharing insights from these projects with a larger audience in our future programming over the next several years.”

Sherrye Willis, Alliance for Greater Works’ president, and Vicky Coffee of the Hogg Foundation were two of the 44 grant project directors to recently gather on Calvin’s campus in Grand Rapids, MI to dialogue not only with CICW staff, but also with the recipients of the 2017 grants.

“The grants event is always an energizing time of conversation and sharing stories,” said Smith. “Every year, some attendees are inspired to write their own proposals for new grant projects. We look forward to receiving those applications for the next round of grants” (due January, 10, 2019).

Since it began in the year 2000, the Vital Worship Grants Program has now awarded 827 grants to churches, schools and organizations across North America for projects that generate thoughtfulness and energy for public worship and faith formation at the local, grass-roots level. An advisory board of pastors and teachers from a variety of backgrounds assists in the grant selections, and the program is generously supported by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937, the Endowment’s major areas of programming are religion, education, and community development.

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