Three Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) new church developments will receive $25,000 each in mission program grants from the Evangelism & Church Growth ministry area of the General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC). The new church ministries in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are:
- Downtown Presbyterian in Columbia, S.C. (Synod of the South Atlantic) is reaching a younger generation of professionals. The organizing Pastor, 30-year-old Amos Disasa, whose family is from Ethiopia, moved to Columbia when he was a boy. He felt God’s call to begin a community of faith to address some of the questions being raised by his peers in the downtown community. In the fall of 2010 he began to lead Bible studies and other exploration groups. To meet people where they were, he collaborated with local museums and art gallery openings, for church to be at “the intersection of faith and life.” Monthly worship services have had as many as 120 in attendance, causing Trinity Presbytery to encourage Downtown Presbyterian to consider weekly worship. The community, which is African-American, Hispanic and Euro American, believes in a relational style of evangelism “where belonging precedes believing.”
- The African Christian United Fellowship (Pittsburgh Presbytery in the Synod of the Trinity) is reaching out to African immigrants of various ethnicities and multicultural backgrounds. Though there are many languages spoken, all come from countries with a French-language background. The fellowship, which offers worship services in French, is in a Pittsburgh neighborhood where most of the immigrants live. Many have a Presbyterian, or other strong denominational background.
- New Beginnings Community Church, Wheeling, W. Va. (Synod of the Trinity), will focus on reaching the largely un-churched working class young people living on the northern, eastern and southern outskirts of Wheeling. The Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery has become galvanized around this new church development mission of evangelism that incorporates demographic groups living in a particular region.
Each new church development was selected by the Mission Development Resources Committee of the GAMC. Proposals for the next review cycle of mission program grants are being accepted now and are based on Starting New Churches: A Process of Discernment (Version 3.0), developed by the office of Church Growth Ministries of the General Assembly Mission Council.