Synod of the Northeast Innovation Grant Recipients – January 2017

The Mission Working Group of the Synod Mission and Ministries Commission reviews grant applications and then joyfully gathers to discern which innovative ministries to help fund across the Synod of the Northeast.  Those that catch our attention reflect thoughtfulness in research, have support from their presbytery, create new energy for the gospel in relationships, and demonstrate promise for sustainability in ministry. As a result of the Commission decisions at its January 2017 meeting, we are pleased to commend to you the work of each of the following Innovation Grant Recipients:

Seeking Mission Communicator/Coordinator

The Synod Mission Coordinator will work to provide effective communication throughout the Synod Community through a variety of communications tools, as well as provide support and guidance to those seeking and receiving mission and ministry support from Synod programs and resources, and to promote Synod funds development.

Synod Mission and Ministries Commission Updates and Actions

The Synod Mission and Ministry Commission met on January 27-28, 2017, at Stony Point Conference Center.  As is often the case, we had lively discussions as a full commission and when we broke out into the Mission Working Group, Networks Working Group and Administrative Working Group.  This is a summary of updates and actions taken. 

Clean Climate Network Launched!

This Network was birthed at the 2016 Synod Assembly during the discussion of the commissioner's resolution to divest from fossil fuels. The discussion took us beyond divestment to how to be the church in the face of climate change and environmental degradation. The discussion led to an overwhelming vote for divestment. The Holy Spirit was alive and moving among us at that assembly. 

Introducing the Inaugural Robert L. Washington Scholars!

In mid-January, the Synod’s highly energized Committee on Representation met to review fourteen Robert Washington Scholar applications and to select the first Scholars.  This was an extremely competitive process. Getting to three Scholars was not easy.  The Scholars program will cultivate executive leadership training by providing resources for robust discernment regarding the Scholar’s vocation, call and abilities for service to the Church.  The first Scholars will attend the Executive Leadership Certificate Program at McCormick Theological Seminary as well as retreats with Synod staff.  We present to you our inaugural Robert L. Washington Scholars!

Sanctuary Training and Network Developing

We also investigated the important role that our own complicity in systems of oppression present, and the need for majority-white communities in mainline congregations to engage in significant pre-discernment and power analysis before beginning Sanctuary in all its forms.  Communities who are directly affected by policing, anti-immigrant, religious and racial bias need to be given primary voice in all conversations and actions we engage as people of faith.