Each year Presbytery of Genesee Valley congregations partner with community agencies or other churches to reflect God’s love and impact the community in a positive way. These efforts are funded by the Presbytery’s Collaborative Ministries Grants administered through the PGV Grants Working Group. Collaboration among churches and organizations is also encouraged through the Peacemaking Grants that are awarded throughout the year and support churches, organizations, or individuals that are working toward restorative justice and addressing oppression.
2023 Mission Collaboration Grants
Repair Café, East Avon and Zion Episcopal, $3,000
This project uses volunteers from East Avon Presbyterian and Zion Episcopal Churches who repair broken items rather than throwing them into a landfill. In this particular café repairs are made to more than just “stuff.” On the third Saturday of the month tents are set up near center of Avon and the community is offered food, coffee, and conversation, as well as, whatever is brought in getting fixed. Things that have been repaired include lamps, electronics, sewing and knitting things, and even small collectables. The Repair Cafe believes “we are repairing dignity and a sense of belonging to many people as we help save them money and keep things from going into the trash. Some stop by to sit, have a cup of coffee, and chat.”
Weekend Food Ministry, Gates PC and Gates Chili Central School District, $3,000
The Weekend Food Ministry project started in 2022 in one elementary school to supply weekend food to students and siblings who face food insecurity. The Gates congregation, Gates Chili School District Manager, Social Workers, and the families served all praised the program. Supplies were provided by the congregation and some mission funds were also used. Gates Presbyterian wants to expand the project to a second school this year. The goal is to invite other area churches to join in and partner with their neighborhood school. The grant will help Gates Presbyterian to supply food as the congregation works to establish new partnerships.
Friends of Borgne Horseback Library, First Presbyterian Church of Honeoye Falls and Friends of Borgne, Inc., $3,000
The grant application gave us a very thorough background of Haiti issues around education there and the need for books. It also shared the needs and reason for applying for this grant which will help to revitalize the traveling library by replacing the worn out books and adding new titles for young readers of Kreyol and for older readers in French. It is hoped to reach 25 schools and at least 400 children with books during the next school year. First Presbyterian Church of Honeoye Falls members have supported Friends of Borgne (FOB) for many years and the current youth group has chosen FOB as their mission focus for this coming year. In addition to purchasing books, the grant will help purchase a horse to carry the books so the librarian does not have to. The partnership is an opportunity to explore issues of systemic racism and diversity.
Piano Lessons for Children at Wilson Commencement Park, Third Presbyterian Church and Wilson Commencement Park, $3,000
Wilson Commencement Park (WPC) is a community agency that helps low-income, single-parent families transition from public assistance to financial independence and personal self-sufficiency. This project grows out of meetings between a Third Church member and the Family Support Program Administrator at WCP. The grant will get the two pianos in basement of WCP tuned and conditioned in preparation for lessons for up to 10 children. A candidate to teach the lessons has been identified. It is hoped that at the end of the session of lessons that students will present a recital for their families and the community including members of Third Presbyterian Church.
Bridges for Hope – Homelessness Prevention, Victor Presbyterian Church and Family Promise, $3000
Victor Presbyterian Church has partnered with Family Promises whose MISSION is to help families experiencing homelessness and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response. This grant will be used in 2023 to expand the prevention program. Family Promises offers monthly support/social gatherings for parents and will establish a support group program monthly for children who are in shelter, so they can share coping strategies for the trauma and loss they are experiencing. The prevention case manager will continue to conduct needs assessments. The on-staff LPN can conduct initial health assessments and locate the appropriate referral for treatment. Volunteers collect baby shower gifts for our expectant moms, help with apartment set-ups, cleaning and supplies.
Caring For Our Community by Providing Emergency Food, Hope and a Bridge to Self-sufficiency, First Presbyterian Church of Chil, $1,000
The grant will help the First Presbyterian Church of Chili’s Food Cupboard realize it’s mission to offer emergency food to those in the neighborhood who are struggling to provide for their families. The food cupboard partners with Foodlink of Rochester and is run by a committee of seven congregational members. In March 2023 they served 87 households and fed 301 people, amazing work for a church with 92 members. Local community service organizations have also joined in this work as well as 45 additional volunteers. In just one year the Food Cupboard has grown from 29 households to the 87 served in March. Specifically, the grant will be used to purchase a flatbed cart and moveable shelves to enhance food distribution.
2022 Mission Collaboration Highlights
Job Training for formerly Homeless Persons, Irondequoit Presbyterian Church with Coffee Connection and Person-Centered Housing Options
This project provides employment through the Coffee Connection for individuals working with Person Centered Housing Options (PCHO). “The holistic approach of both nonprofit organizations, supported by the congregation, includes compassionate services in areas of health care, mental health therapy, personal relationship skills, housing, professional coaching, and other recovery support. This is love in action.” The grant helps support the training, and administrative cost for the program.
Boldly Addressing Hunger, First Presbyterian, Chili with Foodlink
As this small congregation became aware of families in their geographical area who were lacking in nutritional needs, the idea for establishing their own Food Cupboard grew out of brainstorming sessions shared last year at our Board of Deacons’ Meetings. Linking with Food Link their Food Cupboard has grown “beyond expectations”–feeding over 120 people a month. The process allows participants to “shop” the shelves for the foods they need and want. The grant helps to upgrade the space for food storage and client shopping.
Jennifer’s Closet, Bethany Presbyterian with Jennifer’s Closet
“What the neighborhood really needs is a clothing closet and household furnishings shop.” This project is a new neighborhood initiative that combines Bethany volunteers and neighborhood residents to establish a new resource for the community. They collaborate to determine the best items to collect, scheduling, and operating guidelines. Bethany volunteers assist in filing for non-profit status and an equal number of congregation and neighborhood volunteers make up the new Board of Directors for Jennifer’s Closet.
Black/White Churches Addressing Racism Workshop, John Knox Presbyterian with Greater Rochester Community of Churches (GRCC)
This congregation knows that “The church and society have, for generations, behaved in racist ways. This must change if we expect to flourish and break down racial barriers in our current culture.” These workshops are designed to help the participants see how racism and racist attitudes are outside of God’s understanding of love. The goal, over time, is that the work will result in building awareness of the impact racism has on all involved and it will create not only opportunities, but a willingness and desire to work together as allies to reduce the impact of systemic racism on individuals affected daily by racism, poverty, and other systemic marginalization and oppression throughout the Greater Rochester region.
Witness Palestine Film Festival, Third Presbyterian with Penfield Presbyterian
This collaboration combines funding from around the faith community to offer the October 2022 Witness Palestine Film Festival (WPFF). The festival includes a film panel discussion and other interactive opportunities to spotlight the continued suffering of the Palestinian people who have lived under Israeli occupation for over 70 years. Their stories, their histories and their cries for justice have rarely been told in the United States. The WPFF helps to educate the Rochester community by telling these stories and showing these cries for justice through film.
Supporting Mental Health Needs, Webster Presbyterian with State Road Elementary School
The goal of this partnership is to enhance the school experience for the school’s large number of high needs children and essentially help equalize the playing field for their most vulnerable students. The project capitalizes on the relationship between reading and playing music, learning notes on a staff, playing rhythms, and focusing on parts and the whole. Specifically this will be accomplished through providing a set of chimes for the music department and books for children who have no books at home.