2020 Annual Report

The Power of Connection

Congregations Served  2,545
Grants Given  2,791

Our Mission

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.

Tim-Shapiro Tim-Shapiro

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
Looking Back on a Tumultuous 2020
Rev. Timothy Shapiro, D. Min
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Dear Friends,

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.

That’s connection.

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.

Number of individuals served  5,099

We all encountered a lot of changes in 2020, and I’m grateful to Indiana congregations for their enthusiasm about online education.

Matt Burke
Education Director
New Congregation Connections  3,278
Number of Events & Gatherings 176
Event Participants 2,484

The Hero of Its Own Journey

choir singing

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.

Strengthening Leadership

Urban Light group

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.

Small Congregation Makes a Big Impact

Two men playing instruments

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.

Interpersonal Growth and Personal Healing


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.

Total Number of Grants Given
Total Amount of Dollars Given
By Grant Type
$11,830,378 Connect Through Tech
$1,110,048 Resource Grants
$170,793 Other

The Center for Congregations helps you and your Indiana congregation through no cost consulting, low cost education events, and grants.

Get in touch with us anytime at any of our locations or online at info@centerforcongregations.org.

  • 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.

Our 2020 Board Members

Katie Patterson Board Chair
Bill Kincaid Board Vice Chair
Richard L. Hamm Secretary
Elizabeth Clay Board Member
Lant Davis Board Member
David M. Mellott Board Member
Alton Pollard Board Member

Our Staff

Congregations work hard at being places of warmth, welcome and hospitality. Here at the Center, we try to provide some of that hospitality in return. Whether it’s meeting with a pastor or lay leader at our office or greeting guests at one of our education events, we want to make every experience congregations have with us pleasant and one they won’t soon forget.

 Eunita Booker
Eunita Booker Northeast Administrative Assistant

I enjoy my work at the Center because I can assist congregations in their vision, impact the communities they/we serve and work with colleagues who are convinced this isn’t only work- it's ministry.

 McKenzie Scott Lewis
McKenzie Scott Lewis Northwest Director

I am able to do skilled work for a higher purpose. In my work I am able to contribute to the love of mankind, fellowship, and understanding with the intentions of having some kind of impact, big or small, on humanity. Being true to my nature, I'm always trying my best to leave the world better than I found it.

 Alisha Agnew
Alisha Agnew Central Administrative Assistant

I attended a workshop held by the Center for Congregations while I was employed at another organization. I was impressed by the Center and the work being done there so I applied for an administrative assistant position. After interviewing, I was even more impressed with the Center and was hopeful I would have the opportunity to use my skills in support of folks practicing their faith, no matter their faith tradition. This is very rewarding work and I’m still happy to be able to do this work!

Jerri Kinder
Jerri Kinder Executive Assistant