BRIDGEPORT — Summer is just around the corner. For most of us, that probably means vacation time, soaking up the sun and enjoying the warmer weather.
But for Foundations in Faith, the arrival of summer also heralds the arrival of a new grant opportunity for parishes in the city of Bridgeport.
The new program, known as “Summer Fun and Fellowship,” is an offshoot of the foundation’s mini grant program, and seeks to fund summer religious education and faith formation programs at parishes in the city of Bridgeport. These mini grants will be provided through the St. John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Faith Formation.
“We are planting seeds in fertile ground,” said Kelly Weldon, Foundations in Faith’s director. “We want Bridgeport parishes to have collaborations with neighboring parishes, multigenerational inclusive connections, and an eagerness to continue faith formation during the summer months. Shining a spotlight on fun builds faith communities and a true sense of joy.”
The Summer Fun and Fellowship program emphasizes three elements. First, programs seeking funding must incorporate faith formation in some way. Second, programs must incorporate fellowship, whether among different groups n a parish or among other parishes in Bridgeport. Finally — and perhaps most importantly — the young people in the program need to have fun.
How might a parish meet these criteria? Well, a youth ministry’s members might be too young for a Theology on Tap event, but maybe they could do something similar with a Taco Tuesday. Or maybe a youth ministry could have a “S’mores and the Saints” event where they learn about the lives of some of the Church’s greatest saints while roasting marshmallows. They could even invite some of the diocesan seminarians to an ice cream social to fellowship and talk about vocations to religious life.
The possibilities are really endless, so long as they emphasize faith formation, fellowship and fun.
“Summer is a time to recreate and re-create,” Weldon said. “Let us celebrate our young people with fun and exciting projects. Ask them for their ideas and we bet they have a winner.”
Although Summer Fun and Fellowship is a new program, it will largely follow the application process of Foundations in Faith’s mini grant program. This means anyone interested in applying for a Summer Fun and Fellowship grant should get in contact with the foundation and share their idea with the staff. If they think it’s a good fit, the foundation will provide the applicant with a mini grant application. Applicants can request up to $2,000 in funding for their Summer Fun and Fellowship grant.
For Weldon, evidence that young people have been engaged in the project idea will really make an application stand out.
“Bridgeport parishes have a proven track record of creative Catholic community connections,” Weldon said. “Summer Fun and Fellowship mini grants are meant to be a fertilizer in a garden well-seeded.”
Applications for Summer Fun and Fellowship grants are open and will close on June 10.