Parishes around the Diocese of Virginia create creative programs to breathe new life into their congregations. The Diocese is proud to be a part of these impactful ministries by assisting this growth and revitalization through funding. When an individual, parish or related organization receives a grant, it is not only the folks at the Diocesan office walking alongside them and holding them up in God’s work, but 181 parishes and 80,000 Episcopalians.
The Mustard Seed Grant Fund is only one granting program within the Diocese of Virginia. The Peter James Lee (PJL) Small Church Revitalization Fund assists churches with an average Sunday attendance of less than 200. Grants may be used for revitalization, preservation and expansion. McIlhany Parish, also known as Grace Church, Red Hill, has new energy surrounding an intentional community for young adults after receiving a PJL Small Church Revitalization grant of $24,807 in May 2015. As the Rev. Connor Gwinn, Canon Missioner for Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, recently wrote in One in Mission, “Generally, young adults are looking for meaning, belonging, and community. They are looking to be a part of something bigger than themselves.” The Charis Community forming at McIlhany Parish lends itself to just that – giving young adults a community to work, live, pray and do ministry.
Grace Aheron who conceptualized and organized the intentional community called Charis Community outside of Charlottesville is interviewed in the video below. She shares the impact of this community on McIlhany Parish, on young adults and on herself. During the time of the interview in late August 2015, the community was just coming to fruition. The journey is just beginning for them. Won’t you join us in celebrating this new, creative ministry and seeing where it goes?
Written By: Ashley Cameron
Video Production: Ashley Cameron