Legacy Grant Committee seeks new applications

July 22, 2015
ninaBees preschool students play at the experience and sensory table. Today's focus is "over, under, around, and through." Thanks to the Legacy Fund, the preschool will expand its ministry in the community. Photo courtesy Rev. Brad Laurvick, Highlands UMC
Submitted by the Rev. Dr. C. Dennis Shaw
Legacy Fund Convener (without vote)

Email: RevDennisShaw@gmail.com

The next Legacy Grant window is now open. The Legacy Grants were created by the Rocky Mountain Conference in order to nurture creative ministries designed to reach new people. The funding for the program comes from closed churches that are sold.

I wrote in a February 2015 Rocky Mountain Conference news release about Legacy Grants:

“I encourage us to think of this in biblical terms of Elijah passing the prophetic mantle to Elisha. In this passing of the mantle, Elijah asked his student-prophet what he would desire of him before his departure. Elisha replied: ‘I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me’ (2 Kings 2:9). The Legacy Fund’s hope is that a double portion of God’s goodness is passed from closing churches to new and expanding ministries.”

Claire McNulty-Drewes writes of the closing of Bethel United Methodist in Boulder, Colorado:

“I like to believe that the church was put on hospice care when we made the decision to close. We began the process by creating a space for memories to be shared, tears to be shed, laughter to be heard, and goodbyes to be spoken. The members of the church began to dream of what their legacy might become. Could the closing of the church help the birth and growth of others? Could the freeing up of resources allow another community to birth a ministry that would be one of justice, and compassion, and grace? We did not know what the Bethel sacrifice would offer others in the future, but the trust that God was at work was all we had to lean into.”

The Legacy of Bethel lives. New people will be reached through the mantle passing. Elijah to Elisha like, that is the Legacy Grant.

Three local church grants were approved in the last window:

  • Castle Rock First to merge special needs children into their pre-school program.
  • Breckenridge Father Dyer to reach younger adults who support the tourist business in Summit County, Colorado.
  • Denver Highlands to expand their preschool program in the Highlands community of Denver.

Ministries are being birthed here that lead to growth in others. Other grants will be presented to the Conference Trustees in August for their approval.

Our lessons learned and annual report is available online. Aging infrastructure, disability access, parsonages and asbestos abatement are not normally approved for funding. Reaching or serving new people is the focus. Vitality metrics are factors in the evaluation process, but not the exclusive deciding one. Each application is evaluated holistically against the backdrop of who the new participant in the life of the church or community will be.

The application form can be downloaded online. About one grant is approved out of three requested.

The grant window is now open. It will close on Sept. 15 (with a little slippage of a few days possible if coordinated in advance.) We hope to have a pattern of January to mid-March, and July to mid-September to be the rhythm of the Legacy Grant window. We humbly ask that no grant requests be made for funds to be spent before Jan. 1, 2016.