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CBF awards grants to bolster church-community connections

 By Aaron Weaver

DECATUR, Ga.— The Ministries Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has awarded five grants totaling $25,000 to CBF churches to help support projects to build bridges between congregations and communities.

The Ministries Council serves as an advisory body to the CBF Governing Board, collaborating with individuals throughout the Fellowship to identify, develop and deploy the assets of CBF churches and individuals. In 2016, the council began awarding annual grants to fund a wide variety of church-based projects such as a garden to feed refugees, a positive reinforcement system for a multi-racial community, a summer reading program, an infant formula program, temporary residences for refugees and a community food pantry.

Earlier this year the council invited grant proposals that address issues that local churches and their communities face with a focus on advocacy and innovation (doing church in new ways). The council’s granting group received 17 applications and scored each one individually on a rubric.

The 2018 CBF Ministries Council grant recipients include:

  • Moving Forward Looking Backward—project of a small African-American congregation in Helena-West Helena, Ark., to expand the activities of a community center to help the town adjust to increasing publicity from racial violence in past decades through a youth education project, a water festival and an educational focus on the history of racial violence
  • Blessings in the STORM—project of Rolling Hills Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ark., to enhance a soccer ministry serving Hispanic, African-American, Marshallese and white youth and their low-income families.
  • Computer Lab for Immigration Advocacy—project of Oakland Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C., to provide online courses to help immigrants and refugees complete their high school education or get a GED and support the work of a legal aid and advocacy ministry serving immigrants
  • Enhancing our Welcome to Refugees—project of Knollwood Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., to heighten the congregation’s outreach services to refugee families arriving in the city from the Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq and other locations
  • Ready for School Program for Immigrant Community—project of Willow Meadows Baptist Church in Houston to support an early literacy program for children with limited English in being ready for pre-kindergarten and to equip parents in the critical role as their children’s first teacher

Carrie Bearden, incoming chair of the CBF Ministries Council and lay leader at Buechel Park Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., expressed her excitement to recognize the five deserving recipients for 2018.

“It is so exciting to read these grant applications each year and learn about the amazing work occurring in our Fellowship,” Bearden said. “A key aspect of the grant review is to learn how this work reflects the qualities and attributes of Jesus Christ, and how others in the Fellowship can replicate this in their ministries.”

These grant recipients will be recognized June 14 at the CBF General Assembly in Dallas during the report of the Ministries Council.

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CBF is a Christian network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry eff­orts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.

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