I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert,” Isaiah 43:19

2023 is the Year of Story, and some of the best stories from across Northwest Ohio have their genesis in the Imagining Renewal Microgrants initiative. Why are Microgrants so important?

Microgrants encourage God’s people to dream new dreams.
Microgrants seed mission and ministry beyond the four walls of our parishes.
Microgrants help us connect with what God is already up to in the community.

And as Pastor Stacy Lauer-Scovanner shares in the story below, Microgrants are renewing communities by bringing the Kingdom of God out of the abstract and into our daily lives.

After Covid, our congregation struggled with the same thing as many of you. People were busier in different ways and weren’t connecting with each other and the church like they used to.

We started talking with new community leaders—coaches, the owner of the yoga studio, people walking through the coffee shop. Everyone had the same concern, that people were feeling lonely and that there was a sense of gloom overshadowing things.

Along with the owner of the yoga studio, we applied for (and received!) a microgrant. We hoped to help bring people together, even if it was outside of our walls. We gathered for worship at the beach each week and planned an activity that would interest different groups of people. One week we walked and talked, another time we kayaked, another time did yoga, another time we went for a swim in the lake. Each week someone new joined in, and they often came back the next week. We worshiped simply, ate dinner together, laughed and sometimes cried. This was a year ago, and we continued with beach worship this summer.

Thanks to the grant, we found community together. We also found joy in being outside! The grant stretched us to inviting the community into our Giving Garden where we grow produce to donate to local food pantries. Trucks and trucks full of produce leave each week of the summer, given away to those who need it most.

With such success at the park worship from the grant, we were inspired to invite the soccer team to help in the garden. One boy said he didn’t know corn grew like that on the plant. Another boy said that he never thought about God creating actual food for us to eat—creation had been a completely abstract idea for him until that time. Kids worked alongside adults, relationships formed even more, and deep and meaningful discussion took place as the youth asked questions and learned from those who had been serving in the garden for years.

These microgrants make a difference. The one we received helped us dream, and the dreaming then continued beyond what we had even imagined. We went from lacking community to being a renewed community through activities, worship, and then expanding on a service project we were already doing. Thank you for supporting dreams, as together we serve our God and proclaim God’s love to the world!

I invite you to come and enter the story and join Pastor Stacy and myself by making a generous donation to Imagining Renewal Microgrants. Our goal is to raise $100,000 to fully fund new Microgrant initiatives. Together, we can and do make a difference in Christ’s name.

To give text NWOS to 73256 or click the link below!