2020 Annual Report
The Power of Connection
The Center for Congregations strengthens Indiana congregations by helping them find and use the best resources to address their challenges and opportunities.
The Indianapolis Center for Congregations is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and is a supporting organization of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Rev. Timothy Shapiro, D. Min
Congregations are the reason we exist. The Center strengthens Indiana congregations by helping them find and use the best resources to address their challenges and opportunities. That’s our mission.
Just as important as our mission is what congregations accomplished in 2020. Connection is the word.
Despite the COVID 19 pandemic, congregations strengthened their essential activities – worship, study, care, mission. That is why the Center was pleased to award almost $12 million through the Connect Through Tech grants program. Through this unique initiative, congregations purchased and used cameras, microphones, lighting, live-streaming subscriptions, and more. Former members of congregations, now living beyond Indiana, described the joy of praying together once again via live streaming.
Think of the congregations where young adults and grandparents worked together to get online and to prepare cameras and microphones for worship.
That's an intergenerational connection.
What we thought were technology grants were relationship grants.
Indiana congregations joined with community partners to feed the hungry, improve access to medical care, provide mentoring with middle school students, and more.
There's so much to tell. Information in this annual report represents the Center’s work in 2020. More importantly, the beautiful power of connection that congregations provide are stories we share with delight and gratitude.
Rev. Timothy Shapiro, D. Min, President
Center for Congregations
The Power of Unity for Peter’s Rock
Peter's Rock is a story of the power of unity. The congregation from Gary, Indiana, rose to the occasion during unparalleled times and sought to address the needs of youth in their community through a resource grant connecting them to services and mentors.
Connecting with Community for Holy Trinity
Recognizing the need for expanded wifi access, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in South Bend, Indiana, utilized the Connect Through Tech grant to serve their community, offering the valuable connection that folks needed during the pandemic.
Indiana Chin Baptist Church of Indianapolis
This growing immigrant congregation is the hero of its own journey. Despite the hardships their leaders and worshippers have experienced, they carry their faith with them and press toward growth and vibrancy. Their leaders are currently assessing their technology needs and improving sanctuary lighting to support their more than 400 Sunday worshipers. This congregation is flourishing.
Urban Light Community Church of Muncie
With a long history of meaningful ministry, this congregation decided to start a resource center for its members and lay leadership to receive additional training for their spiritual formation. The popularity of the training program has spread throughout their congregation to establish new lay leaders, and the congregation is stronger than ever as they move from transplanted leaders to internal leadership.
Scott United Methodist Church
With an average worship attendance of 75, they might be considered small, but there is nothing small about their commitment to their community. During the summer of 2020, the congregation organized a three-day event to address the systemic and pandemic-driven challenges many of their members and neighbors face. From inspirational speakers and workshops to health screenings and a business fair, the “Generation to Generation: Rebuilding the Village” conference left a lasting impression for many in the community.
Grace Church Camby
In a time when “isolation” has been a buzzword, one Camby church put human relationships at the center of their congregation’s life. In 2020, staff and lay members at Grace Church embarked upon the RelateStrong journey. RelateStrong is a program from the Boone Center for the Family at Pepperdine University that trains Christian leaders to help manage conflict, understand personality differences, and embrace spiritual gifts. The concepts build on Restoration Therapy’s Pain and Peace cycles and focus on interpersonal growth and personal healing.
High Tech Solutions for Indiana Congregations
When 2020 threw you a COVID curve ball, the Center for Congregations responded swiftly with high-tech solutions to help your congregation find new ways to communicate, worship, and support your communities. The innovative Connect Through Tech (CTT) grant initiative awarded almost $12 million in funds to nearly 2700 Indiana congregations like yours. Then we followed it up with 37 workshops and online gatherings to support you in learning and using your new technology.
The Center for Congregations helps you and your Indiana congregation through no cost consulting, low cost education events, and grants.
- We listen to you about your congregation's needs.
- We provide information and options without telling you what to do.
- We help you find vendors, consultants and organizations, but don’t dictate who you hire.
- We give you the space and time to work through the information.
- And we offer grants to help you fund these things.
Meet the Team
Our team is a group of passionate and dedicated people who are committed to serving you and your communities. Meet the team behind Center for Congregations and learn more about why they love working for the organization.