SYOSSET, NY [OCA] -- At their fall session held at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America here November 16-18, 2010, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops approved the recommendation of the Department of Evangelization to award three Church Planting Grants for 2011.
Through the Church Planting Grant program, grants of up to $25,000.00 for first year recipients, which must be used specifically to assist in providing a salary for a full-time resident priest and must be matched by the qualifying mission, deanery, or diocese, are awarded each year. Grants may be renewed for a maximum of three years.
Since the program's inception over 15 years ago, grants have been awarded to some 30 mission communities, most of which have successfully transitioned to full parish status. [For testimonies from priests serving parishes that had successfully completed their grant periods visit www.oca.org/FOS/appeals/mission.testimonies.html.]
For the first time in history, the OCA Archdiocese of Canada will fully fund a Planting Grant to one of its missions -- Saint Aiden of Lindisfarne, Cranbrook, British Columbia. Established in 2005, the mission has been served by Priest Richard Rene since May 2008. Its growth may be seen on the mission's web site at www.saintaidan.ca.
Another "first" is the awarding of a full first-year grant to the Diocese of Mexico. The grant will enable a priest to devote full-time ministry to developing missions in a variety of locations. For information on the Diocese of Mexico, visit its newly launched web site at ocamexico.org.
Also awarded a full first-year grant was Holy Resurrection Mission, Augusta, GA, where Priest Robert Royer serves as priest-in-charge. Originally, the mission was established in Aiken, SC as an outreach of Holy Apostles Church, Columbia, SC. In August 2010, it relocated to Augusta, seizing the opportunity for maximum growth. The mission maintains a working relationship with Saints Mary and Martha Monastery, Wagener, SC. Further information is available on the mission's web site at holyresurrectionmission.org.
Saint Peter the Aleut Mission, Lake Havasu City, AZ, was awarded a partial grant for 2011. The mission, whose growth parallels that of the city -- Lake Havasu City itself was "planted" in the late 1970s as a planned retirement community -- was formally established as a mission of the Diocese of the West in 1987. Today, Priest Peter E. Henry, rector, serves a growing population that includes faithful of all ages and backgrounds, as reflected on the mission's web site at saintpeterthealeut.org.
Completing the grant program is Holy Cross Mission, Greensboro, NC, which has experienced rapid growth due to the ministry of Priest Christopher Foley. Visit its web site at www.holycrossoca.org.