Baylor Social Work Center Receives $1.1 Million Community Ministry Grant

June 21, 2006

by Vicki Marsh Kabat, assistant director of the Center for Family and Community Ministries, (254) 710-2561

Baylor University's Center for Family and Community Ministries (CFCM) in the School of Social Work has been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the Christ Is Our Salvation Inc. (CIOS) private foundation to be administered over the next three years.

The CFCM proposal, titled "Strengthening Congregational Community Ministries," will focus on four key areas:

• educating future community ministry leaders for churches;

• preparing those leaders through congregational field internships in the School of Social Work;

• producing community ministry resources and training for churches, much of which will be derived from recent scholarly research within the School; and

• publishing a quarterly journal to be used as a resource for congregational leaders.

"The single most requested need congregation members ask of their church staff is for ways to serve in their local communities," said Dr. Diana R. Garland, dean of Baylor's School of Social Work and one of four co-investigators of the grant. She cited results from more than 10 years of administering the CFCM's Church Census survey, which provides an in-depth profile of families within a congregation. "Church members are asking for these materials, and they want their pastoral staffs to lead them in these ministries," said Garland, who founded the CFCM in 1998.

"The Piper family is excited about this program to assist churches in carrying out community ministries, particularly since the Baylor School of Social Work is already working with a number of other organizations that receive funding from CIOS," said Kent Reynolds, CIOS executive director. These groups include the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baptist University of the Americas, Buckner Benevolences and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

"The Piper family looks for people and organizations that are passionate about carrying out their mission, and the people and programs of the Baylor School of Social Work certainly meet that criterion," Reynolds said.

As part of the grant proposal, the center will name Gaynor Yancey, associate dean for baccalaureate studies at the School, as the associate professor of church and community.

Yancey, who came to Baylor in 1999, spent 28 years as both a home missionary and as executive director of nonprofit social service agencies. She spent four years as president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank, during which time she served on the national committee to establish Best Practices in Food Banking and on a national committee established by Second Harvest to create curriculum for executive directors related specifically to administration, training, supervision and networking.

"We are so grateful to the Piper family for providing this gift to help the School of Social Work assist churches in carrying out community ministries," Yancey said. "This gift will not only help congregations but also it will enable students to prepare for their calling to practice social work in the context of church and community ministry."

Yancey will teach "Urban Issues and the Response of the Church" beginning fall 2006 at George W. Truett Theological Seminary. The three-hour semester course is offered in the master of divinity missions concentration. The School of Social Work and Truett offer a master of divinity/master of social work dual degree.

Yancey has a doctorate in social work with a concentration in social welfare policy from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, a master's of social work in social agency administration from Temple University in Philadelphia, and a master's in religious education in church social work and missions from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her baccalaureate degree in English and business administration is from East Texas Baptist College (now University).

Also a part of the educational component of the grant is the naming of four community ministry student fellows, two graduate and two undergraduate, who will provide outreach to congregations to extend the center's work. Monies also will be available to fund stipends for six undergraduate and graduate students in congregational field internships.

"Congregational internship funding is vital to assure that social work students come to see the local church as the place for community leadership," Yancey said. "It is a passion that we already see in many of our social work students, one that demands our attention and facilitation."

Another major component of the grant is the creation and production of community ministry resources and training opportunities for congregations. Original printed and online resources will be created by Yancey in her new role, and these will be added to other original and existing materials that will be compiled and released as a "Walking Alongside" resource and workbook manual.

"In the past two years, we have completed major research studies on faith and service, the role of voluntarism in individual and congregational faith development, and best practices for the collaboration of churches and religiously affiliated nonprofits," said Jon Singletary, CFCM director and assistant professor. "Now we have a coordinated venue in which to present these findings in easy-to-use, practical resources for church leadership."

Training opportunities will include workshops led and facilitated by Yancey, a series of Community Ministry Academy workshops sponsored by the center, and consultation services to assist congregational staffs in sustaining their community ministries.

The CIOS grant also will enable the CFCM to publish a quarterly theological and resource journal for clergy. "It will present original materials to inspire critical thinking among clergy, latest research findings relevant to family and community ministries, and contemplative materials to encourage reflection," Singletary said.

The Christ Is Our Salvation Foundation was established in 1952 by Paul and Mary "Katy" Piper, and the Pipers formed the Christian Mission Concerns Foundation in 1984. Katy Piper, Paul Piper Jr. and Polly Piper Rickard are the trustees of CIOS, and Paul's wife, Shirley, is the program officer. Reynolds has been executive director of CIOS since 1983 and president of CMC since its formation in 1984. CIOS and CMC have made significant gifts to George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and CMC provided the facility for the Piper Child Development Center, a laboratory for Baylor students in several different fields of study. In addition, CIOS has provided the funds for hundreds of no-interest loans to Baylor students.

For more information, contact Singletary at (254) 710-4819 or at Jon_Singletary@baylor.edu.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?