The Second Episcopal District of the African Methodist Church will have 30 rural congregations engage in a transformative process. This process will help these churches located in regions with declining populations discover new ways to thrive. Most of these churches founded during the 19th or early 20th century previously adapted to their changing cultural context. This proposal intends to help these churches reconnect to their historical resilient roots. Rural churches from Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina will participate. Five churches from each of the three states will be selected to form a cohort. There will be a total of two cohorts (15 churches per cohort). The two cohorts will undergo a two-year planning and implementation program. During the first-year church teams (pastors and laity) will attend four retreats where they will create new community focused ministry plans. In the second year, churches will implement their plans. Cohorts will have consultants and coaches to guide and support them as they progress through the Thriving Congregations program. This proposed initiative builds upon the work the Second Episcopal District started in 2017 that revealed a willingness from several rural churches to change but also a desire for assistance to move forward. Our project will provide that support and rural churches in our district will develop self-sustaining community integrated ministries that will allow their churches to thrive.
Second Episcopal District Rural Churches Revitalization Program