By Tyler Sprouse, TWK Communications Specialist

At the 2022 TWK Annual Conference session in Brentwood, TN, there was a discussion concerning how closed church funds might be utilized. As a result, the following resolution was approved:

The Board of Trustees shall create from the existing closed church fund a Small Membership Church Improvement Fund of 1 million dollars for the benefit of churches worshiping 50 or fewer as determined by Table 1, Line 7 of the church’s most recent statistical report. The fund would be used to assist small churches with major building repair issues. An application and approval process for access to such funds by small churches is to be developed by the Administration and the Discover/Send Strategy Teams.

A team was formed to review applications and in 2023, 40 small membership churches requested and received grants that range from $3,000 to $70,000 for renovation and repair projects that meet the standards outlined in the resolution. 

The Rev. Scott Aleridge, the TWK Conference Director of Development and Property, emphasized that this grant initiative developed as a response to God’s faithfulness.

“Amidst the noise surrounding our denomination and the accompanying strife, the annual conference body experienced a simple whisper of God to show extravagant grace,” said Rev. Aleridge.

He went on to stress the importance of this initiative for our conference’s mission.

“During the messy work of disaffiliation, one bright spot of hope has been the opportunity to provide real-time help for smaller churches, which have struggled with facility issues. The annual conference appointed committee trusted that if a church was asking for help with an issue relating to their facilities and showed a true need, as specified by the resolution, the answer was simply, ‘yes.’ In order for our churches to accomplish our collective mission, this is vital aid,” he said.

The grants have contributed to church repair projects related to new roofs, the installation of HVACs, mold remediation, foundational help, parking lot repairs, and much more. 

Lebanon UMC was one recipient of a small membership church grant. In a letter to the grant committee, the pastor, Rev. Carmen Pariseau, testified to the critical impact this grant will have for the nine-person congregation.

“We are very grateful that, after consideration of our application, the committee awarded us this grant,” Rev. Pariseau said. “We will be able to work on various repairs and replacements. Lebanon UMC is, and has been, a faithful congregation for the Lord. With this money, we will be able to better provide a safe and inviting space for all who enter our doors for worship. Our handicap ramp renovation is another project that this grant will enable. We are so thankful!”

The following churches requested and received small membership church grants in 2023:

  1. Aldersgate UMC
  2. Ashland City UMC
  3. Bells First UMC
  4. Bethel UMC (Rutherford Co.)
  5. Blakemore UMC
  6. Chapel Hill UMC (Smith Co.)
  7. Christ UMC (Graves Co.)
  8. Curry’s Chapel UMC
  9. Dixon Memorial UMC
  10. Donelson Heights UMC
  11. Elm Grove UMC
  12. Epworth UMC
  13. Friendship UMC (Crockett Co.)
  14. Gainsboro First UMC
  15. Glencliff UMC
  16. Grace UMC (Gibson Co.)
  17. Grove Hill UMC (Weakley Co.)
  18. Hickman UMC
  19. Hopewell UMC
  20. Hurricane Hill UMC
  21. Lebanon UMC (Henry Co.)
  22. Lighthouse UMC
  23. Matthews Memorial UMC
  24. McLemoresville UMC
  25. Mt. Pisgah UMC (Davidson Co.)
  26. New Bethel UMC (McNairy Co.)
  27. New Hope UMC (Carroll Co.)
  28. Patterson Memorial UMC
  29. Pleasant Hill UMC (Decatur Co.)
  30. Raleigh UMC
  31. Scenic Hills UMC
  32. Scott’s Chapel UMC
  33. South End UMC
  34. Sulphur Springs UMC
  35. Tennessee City UMC
  36. Tennessee Ridge UMC
  37. Wesley Chapel UMC (Maury Co.)
  38. Wesleyan Hills UMC
  39. Wiley Chapel UMC
  40. Whiteville UMC

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact the grant team at