What is Courageous Love?
Christian hope is loving hope, it is courageous hope. In Jesus, God’s love has been poured into our hearts, and it is God’s love that we are giving to the world. At the beginning of her episcopacy, Bishop Susan began to enact the vision of courageous love for each other and our communities. This work began by comprising a diocesan strategic plan in 2019. Not long after the completion of this plan, the world was brought to a halt as we addressed the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as we addressed the myriad challenges this brought, the diocese courageously hoped that we could begin to move towards the aspirations set forth in this plan. The world may look different now, but the message of the gospel is unchangeable. Animated by the good news of Jesus Christ, the Diocese intends to be a growing, diverse, worshiping community of Jesus Christ’s followers, courageously sharing God’s transforming love in our neighborhoods and beyond.
The 2020 Diocesan Strategic Plan established that a fundraising campaign would be required to meet the plan’s objectives. In September 2021, EDSD staff began to review previous giving in the diocese in preparation for a future fundraising campaign. Between December 2021 and March 2022, lead donors across the diocese were interviewed. From April to October 2022, major donors were surveyed. In January 2023, the Executive Council authorized the Bishop to nominate a committee to guide campaign development and make final recommendations to the Bishop and Council. In July 2023, the campaign committee’s recommendation was reviewed by the budget committee and then submitted to the Executive Council, which approved the Courageous Love campaign. Directed by diocesan leadership, the Courageous Love fund will support the efforts of our strategic plan to strengthen congregations, serve our neighbors, and grow the church.
The Episcopal Church has a vital and essential witness to offer the world: God loves every human being – and through God’s Son, Jesus, God offers redemption, hope, and promise to all creation. We must proclaim this witness courageously and imaginatively, in word and action. The Courageous Love fund will support the efforts of our strategic plan to strengthen congregations, serve our neighbors, and grow the church. Our goal is to raise $2.5 million to answer God’s call to mission in our diocese.
Courageous Love Evangelism Grants
These grants are made possible by the generous donors to the Courageous Love Campaign. The funds raised through this campaign will support the efforts of EDSD’s strategic plan to strengthen congregations, serve our neighbors, and grow the church. Our strategic plan calls us to equip Episcopalians to share God’s love and Christ’s Good News with people who may not know him. Through this, we fulfill Jesus’ great commission by increasing the number of Episcopalians in the diocese. These grants are available throughout the year.
The focus will be on projects that:
- Establish missional expressions among military, college campuses, and other communities
- Increase congregational membership and average weekly attendance
- Engage congregational discipleship programs and resources (e.g. small groups)
- Events where half of the participants are not members of your congregation
- Start worship services that reach a new population
- Improve congregational outreach and invitation practices
- Underwrite community outreach events
Applicants will be expected to:
- Define their evangelism project
- Demonstrate how community demographics have impacted this project
- Describe previous efforts and experience related to this project
- Explain how effectiveness will be gauged
- Demonstrate how the congregation will contribute to the project
- Provide a project budget
- Describe how the project will be supported after grant funds are used
A congregation’s vestry or bishop’s committee must approve a project before a request is reviewed. Once a request is submitted, the bishop’s office and executive council will review the application. A bishop’s staff or executive council member may contact you for clarification on your application if needed. When a decision is made, a bishop’s staff or executive council member will contact you. If you receive a grant, you will be asked to provide periodic updates to the bishop and executive council and contribute to an article for the diocesan news after the completion of the grant.
If you need inspiration for your evangelism efforts, we recommend reviewing projects shared at these Episcopal websites:
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Jason Evans, Canon for Mission, at firstname.lastname@example.org.