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The Commission on Congregational Life (CoCL) is a group of involved and innovative Diocesan leaders. The commission is canonically accountable to Bishop Breidenthal and the Diocese of Southern Ohio for ensuring that the Diocese’s congregations are healthy, joyous, and productive by providing guidance and programming in order to sustain
congregational vitality. 

What We Do

During the past few years, The Commission on Congregational Life has established a transformational process to redefine its grant rewarding and relationships with the Diocese of Southern Ohio’s missions and parishes. The commission has developed and exercises leadership on supporting congregational and new initiative financial requests using a variety of metrics to evaluate factors for accepting, revising, or rejecting requests for financial support. CoCL considers:

  • Congregational mission impact
  • Creative and innovative mission strategies
  • Means for evaluating program/ministry effectiveness
  • Alignment with the Diocese’s “Hallmarks of Health”
  • Consideration of alternative sources for financial/operational/logistical support 

Today, COCL allocates a significant amount of time, talent, and treasure in re-imagining and re-positioning its Diocesan mission and associated services. The commission meets on a monthly basis to review congregational grant applications, forecast futures needs, and remain updated on mission and program related activities across the Diocese and broader Episcopal Church. The commission also focuses on how it can best serve the congregations and communities of faith in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. In sum, COCL is re-imagining its own roles and responsibilities for the 21st Century even as it works with communities throughout the Diocese. These efforts have led to some innovative programming.


The Commission on Congregational Life’s (COCL’s) primary means for implementing the diocese’s mission strategy is through its distribution of grants. The commission’s grants provide financial and strategic resources for encouraging, supporting, evaluating and providing opportunities for congregational development and growth. Any and all diocesan fellowships, missions and parishes are eligible to apply for the COCL’s grants. The COCL offers two types of grants: Congregational Mission Grants and New Initiative Grants. Congregations who apply to receive such grants must prudently pray and plan about the primary purpose, vision, goals and objectives for their grant. Some questions to consider:

  • What do the congregation intend to achieve?
  • What cause, program, or organizational aim will the grant enable the congregation to accomplish?
  • What is the “end in mind?” What are the action steps for accomplishing the goal?
  • What resources does the congregation already possess and/or have access to accomplish the work in mind?
  • How might COCL grant funds benefit the congregation?
  • What other sources would (will) support the congregation’s cause?
  • What are the consequences for the congregation if COCL does not grant their application?
  • If the cause is truly urgent or creative, how will the congregation best present its case for receiving a grant?

COCL grants support the Diocese of Southern Ohio’s goals to:

  • Help communicate the good news of Jesus Christ to all
  • Initiate and encourage the founding of new congregations and communities of faith/practice
  • Aid the growth and change of existing congregations and communities of faith/practice
  • Celebrate congregational life utilizing the hallmarks of health
  • Assist the closing and relocation of congregations and communities of faith/practice as may prove necessary

The Congregational Mission Grant reward process takes place annually in the fall. Congregations complete either the new or renewal CMG application depending upon their qualifications. 

COCL created the New Initiative Grant program in an effort to award grants to congregations in the Diocese of Southern Ohio who are designing and implementing innovative, relational projects; those who are reimagining their Christian mission in demonstrative and life-changing ways.  Funded New Initiative Grants typically address local challenges and/or support outreach efforts, congregational renewal, and or shared church/community agency activities. These projects support the diocese’s goal of deepening connections throughout the diocese regardless of geographic, theological, or parochially boundaries. COCL commonly awards New Initiative Grants for a one-year period to develop and operate innovative projects that improve outreach, recruitment, retention and other community needs. Applicants may submit a New Initiative Grant any time during the year.

Congregational Mission Grant

First time applicants
download application here

Congregational Mission Grant Renewal

Previous grant recipients
download application here

New Initiative

For innovative programming
download or fill out application here

Our Members