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Mustard Seed Fund

On May 6, 2021, the Metropolis of Chicago announced the establishment of a new parish advancement initiative – the Mustard Seed Fund – to help drive parish growth through evangelism, welcoming, and outreach. The Mustard Seed Fund seeks to replicate the successful model of the COVID-19 Parish Relief Fund, which raised more than $250,000 for financial assistance to parishes facing economic hardship caused by the pandemic.

Grants distributed by the Mustard Seed Fund are intended to test and scale promising new ministries and programs that inspire and motivate a new generation of Orthodox Christians to participate in the Church. Based on the Metropolis’ strategic plan and as reported in its Annual Impact Report, evangelism, welcoming, and outreach represent high-potential areas of unmet need and opportunity for the future growth of the Church in the Midwest


The Mustard Seed Fund Grant is accepting applications.


Please apply by Thursday 8/1/2024.  If you have any questions, please send an email us at

The purpose of the Mustard Seed Fund is to test and scale promising new ministries and programs that inspire and motivate a new generation of Orthodox Christians to participate in the church. Microgrants will be awarded to Metropolis of Chicago clergy and stewards seeking to develop and implement new or existing parish-level initiatives that advance evangelism, welcoming and outreach. 

Throughout 2024, those who are selected to receive a microgrant will:

  • Receive funding and support to develop their proposed initiative/ministry.
  • Refine initiatives and evaluate benchmark progress toward goals, assessing effectiveness of programming.

Upon completion of the first year, participants will present their proposed ministries to Metropolis. By sharing presentations, participants will learn from each other’s experiences, and be better able to implement their ministries within their own parishes. In the future, successful ministries will be implemented at other parishes within the Metropolis. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the initial press release about the Mustard Seed Initiative?
To view the press release regarding the Mustard Seed Initiative, click here.

Where will the funds come from to finance the Mustard Seed Fund?
The Metropolis seeded the program with $20,000 and the remaining funds will come from a percentage of the Annual Vision Campaign.

When is the application deadline?
Current applications are due Thursday, August 1, 2024 at 5 PM CST.

Is the deadline for the Parish Priest’s Letter of Support different from the general application deadline, and if so, when is the letter due?
Both the application and Parish Priest’s Letter of Support are due on Thursday, August 1, 2024 at 5 PM CST. The application must be signed and submitted electronically. The Parish Priest Letter of Support should be manually signed, scanned and uploaded with your application to the Metropolis of Chicago website.

Who should I contact if I’m having trouble uploading both the Priest letter and the Mustard Seed Application?
Please reach out to Fr. Luke Melackrinos at

Can I apply for one of these grants as a steward of my parish?
Yes! You can apply for the grant by yourself or with up to three others. One person needs to be the “lead” applicant and the other participants will be listed for support. Please remember to reach out to your Parish Priest for assistance.

I am the parish priest, and I am applying for one of these grants for my church. Can I apply by myself, and if so, do I need to include a Parish Priest Letter of Support in my application?
Any clergyman who wishes to apply should discuss their idea with the Parish Council President and/or His Grace Bishop Timothy and obtain the Chancellor’s signature on the Parish Priest Letter of Support.

Can my proposed ministry be geared towards more than one, or none, of the three key categories included on the application (Evangelism, Welcome, and Outreach)? If so, how should I enter that on the application?
We invite parishioners and clergy to think broadly about their proposed ministry. You may find that your idea overlaps across the three categories. We ask that you choose one primary category and explain the overlap. However, all applications should have at least one component of evangelism, welcome, or outreach.

Are initiatives that have already been established eligible for these grants?
Yes. If your parish already has an initiative and you’d like to apply for a grant to enlarge or enhance your initiative, you are welcome to apply. Explain the existing initiative and how the grant would allow you to build upon that initiative.

Is there a maximum number of applications that can be submitted per parish?
Up to three applications may be submitted per parish.

When can I expect a response from the application committee, and will an interview be required?
The Metropolis will announce award recipients in the first quarter of 2025. Interviews are not required.

If I am awarded a grant, how much money should I expect?
There is not a set amount per grant, as it will vary depending on the initiative. Applicants should indicate the amount requested in their application.

When can I launch my ministry at my parish?
Once you have fully developed your ministry and obtained approval from the Metropolis, you may launch your ministry at your parish.