The Presbytery of the James has approved a limited amount of funds to be allocated each year to smaller congregations (with 100 or less in average Sunday attendance) to assist them in meeting urgent or emergent financial needs. The Small Church Ministry has been delegated the task of reviewing the applications and then evaluating whether the request meets the relevant criteria and, if so, deciding the size of the grant.
Both urgent and emergent requests must represent costs that a congregation could not cover itself without financial hardship. Ordinarily, congregations will be expected to bear a portion of the project expenses themselves.
typically include immediate repairs to buildings or equipment on the church property which affect the normal flow of ministry (e.g. HVAC or roof repair).
refer to outreach into perceived new areas of ministry and growth within the parish. Funds for this could go toward new staffing, building modification, program materials, etc. (e.g. outreach to a specific community group, modifying a building to make it more accessible, etc.)
Ready to apply?
Applications for urgent or emergent requests may be submitted to the presbytery at any time. Upon receiving the formal request from a congregation, members of the Small Church Ministry will convene as soon as possible (possibly via email) to review it and make a decision. A liaison from the ministry group will be appointed who may contact the congregation for more information if necessary. Once we have received all the necessary materials, a decision will be made on the grant within 30 days of receipt of the application.
The Small Church Ministry will use the following criteria to consider whether to approve requests for funds and to determine the amount of the award:
(1) the amount of funds remaining in the Presbytery Small Church Grant Account for the year (if funds run low at some point, priority may be given to urgent vs. emergent requests);
(2) the perceived appropriateness of the project described in the request to further the ministry of the congregation;
(3) the ability of the congregation to fund the desired project (we ask that a congregation be prepared to use up to 10% of its reserve or “rainy day” account before an award will be considered); and
(4) the extent to which the congregation supports mission beyond the local church, especially to the presbytery and Presbyterian-related ministries.
In preparation for the Presbytery Small Church Grant application, the following information will be required:
- A copy of current year’s “line-item” congregational budget including projected expenses & income (not just “bottom line” totals)
- A current balance sheet including funds in checking and savings accounts, CD’s and other investments, endowments and also outstanding obligations (mortgage, loans, etc.)
- If funds are for a repair or renovation, at least two commercial quotes of estimated expense to complete the project
- If an “emergent” project, a cost projection of how funds will be used over time and an explanation of how the project or ministry will be sustained in the future after the initial grant.
Please note that all information submitted will be held in confidence and not shared outside the Ministry.
Amount of Funding
Ordinarily, the maximum grant to one congregation for a single request to the presbytery is $5,000 with the understanding that if the grant is approved the congregation may not be eligible to apply for another grant for three years.
After Receiving a Grant
Awarded funds may be spent solely on the need described in the application. The beginning of the urgent repair or emergent project needs to take place within 90 days of the date of the receipt of the check from the presbytery. After 90 days, if work on the requested project has not begun, funds may be requested to be returned to the presbytery, and an additional application may be necessary. The remainder of any grant funds beyond actual expenses should be refunded to the presbytery’s small church grant fund account. After the completion of the repair or project, the congregation will be asked to submit a report to the Small Church Ministry describing how the funds were spent.
Ready to apply?
Additional Funding Options
The Synod of the Mid-Atlantic offers a similar grant program. For more information, visit synatlantic.org or call their office (804-342-0016).
Applying for Funding from Synod of the Mid-Atlantic and Presbytery of the James
If a congregation seeks to apply simultaneously for help from both the synod and the presbytery (e.g. advisable for amounts over $5,000, the limit of the presbytery’s help), application should be made first to the presbytery with submission to the presbytery office by January 1 or July 1 of the calendar year. The synod application deadline is one month later, February 1 and August 1. After a decision is made by the presbytery, any award will be reported to the synod as they too make their evaluation. (Note: A separate application requiring similar information is required by the synod.)