The Regional Board has approved guidelines submitted by the Faith Formation Commission establishing the opportunity for congregations to apply for faith formation grants of up to $5,000.  The grants will be funded by a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Barbee Christian Camp.

The intention is to form a partnership between congregations and the Region in significant new expressions of ministry that will enable the development of faith communities that are more effectively involved in faith formation. 

These grants are intended to encourage congregations to take a fresh look at their current ministry, and then enable them to begin new ministries that will help bring renewed vitality to the congregation.  Each congregation seeking a grant will be asked to adopt and show progress toward goals that will help lead the congregation to spiritual growth. 

The Faith Formation Commission will administer the grant on behalf of the Region.  While working on the guidelines for this new program, the Commission Chair Rebecca Sundquist stated that there were six key themes they hoped would emerge as congregations imagine their new initiatives including:

  1. Growing in relationship with God
  2. Living as disciples of Jesus at home, work, in the community and in the world.
  3. Developing new understandings of the Bible.
  4. Participating in the life and ministries of the faith community.
  5. Engaging in service and mission in the world.
  6. Deepening spiritual life and practices.

Congregations will be expected to provide matching funds equaling at least 10% of the grant they request. Grants will be made in the  fall and the spring each year.  For more information contact Associate Regional Minister Carolyn Reed at

Grant Guidelines and Application




by Emily Martin, Disciples News Service, April 30, 2019

For 66 years, Barbee Christian Camp was a touchstone for campers across the Indiana region. A new partnership with an interdenominational camping center, the Geneva Conference Center in northern Indiana, led to a decision to close and sell the camp, even as camping operations in southern Indiana continued at the Bedford Christian Camp.

So, what to do with the funds from the sale? Barbee had been the launching pad for so many commitments to service and faith and the Regional Board was determined to continue that legacy.

“We know that summer camp has been the place where community has been formed, spirituality deepened, the scriptures discovered, and God’s presence felt,” said Regional Minister Rick Spleth. “We want to stimulate the opportunity for that to continue to happen in our churches.”

The creative plan that is now in place includes a $1 million endowment fund that will assist the Bedford Camp and Geneva Conference Center with capital needs. The fund, administered by the Christian Church Foundation, is expected to earn about $50,000 annually to be split between the two facilities.

The remainder of the Barbee Blessing, as it is now known, about $500,000, will be invested to support the Faith Formation Designated Fund. This fund will initially provide $1,000 grants to every congregation in the region, to bolster their faith formation efforts in their local setting. As congregations develop plans for larger projects they can apply for supporting grants. This is accompanied by a new regional effort to compile faith resources on the region’s website.

Faith Formation Commission Chair Rebecca Sundquist, said, “It is our hope that the legacy of Camp Barbee honored in this way will have a ripple effect of faith formation for generations to come.”

The first checks will be distributed at area gatherings in May. Later in 2019, congregations will be invited to report to the rest of the region on the new place their grant allowed them to go.

For more information on these efforts, contact Rebecca Sundquist, chair of the Commission on Faith Formation in the region.

The Christian Church in Indiana has been proud to support our local congregations who have resettled refugees from around the world in years past. As this vital ministry is being threatened by government action, we, the Regional Board, feel the need to speak out, to offer our voices against new policies that go against our country’s tradition of providing protection to people seeking safety.

Disciples throughout the United States have served over 40,000 refugees since World War II. Although we pray for the day when all violence comes to an end, we hope to continue doing this important part of our ministry, of living out God’s call to welcome the stranger who is need, a call deeply rooted in our scripture and our history.

By halting refugee resettlement for 120 days, refugee processing has ground to a halt. Each step of the refugee security check process is time sensitive, so a pause in processing has meant that refugees are pulled off of planes, families who are anticipating their loved ones are devastated, and communities that have planned for refugees to arrive are left in limbo. Such an interruption in processing will force refugees who were set to arrive in the United States today to wait months–and even years–to go through fingerprinting, interviews, health screenings, and multiple security screenings yet again, all while their lives are in danger.

By reducing refugee admissions from 110,000 to 50,000, President Trump, with the support of some members of Congress, is going back on America’s promise to refugees and abdicating America’s leadership role on human rights and refugee protection. By stopping the resettlement of Syrian refugees and narrowly preferencing religious minorities, this announcement is tantamount to the religious test that President Trump threatened during his campaign. This is a clear case of discrimination against the Muslim community and must be decried as such.

Many of our congregations have experienced the joy of growing through helping refugees. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that by showing hospitality, “some have entertained angels without knowing it.” We hope that our leaders will reconsider their decisions, so that we may continue to welcome new angels, new neighbors, and new citizens of the United States.

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