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On April 10, the Society of the Celtic Cross at CDSP awarded $20,000 in grants to nineteen organizations involved in mission at home and around the world. Members of the student-run organization raise the funds by parking cars for fans attending games at the University of California at Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium and selling sodas to fellow students.
“Who knew a few empty parking spaces, some canned soft drinks, and other offerings could turn into $20,000 in Good News for organizations around the world?” said Deacon Twila Smith, a third-year MDiv student who serves as Celtic Cross missioner. In addition to raising funds, Celtic Cross students raise awareness of community needs and conduct the annual grants process.
A dozen of this year’s grants went to San Francisco Bay area churches and other non-profits, including local food pantries and ministries with people who are homeless. Students have worked directly with these ministries during the year. Grants across the country will support work on behalf of refugees and new immigrants, literacy programs, environmental advocacy, and disaster preparedness.
Celtic Cross grants are generally given in amounts up to $1,000. This year, three special grants were awarded for $2,000 each. Two grants were given in recognition of CDSP’s partnerships with Ripon College Cuddesdon, near Oxford, England, and Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong. Philippa White, an exchange student from the program in Cuddesdon, will begin her first post-seminary placement with a grant to use in Lincolnshire. Over the summer, CDSP student Reed Loy will travel to Ming Hua and will work with students there to identify a local project. One additional grant, for maternal and child health, was given to Episcopal Relief & Development, in memory of Fritz Tichenor, infant son of the Rev. Liz Tichenor (MA '13, MDiv '12).
“When grant applications began arriving in the spring term, each one was assigned a student ‘steward’ to research the proposal and consider needs,” Smith said. “We then came together to share information about the mission possibilities represented in the grants, and to discern recipients to recommend to the wider community.” At a forum on urban mission on April 10, the seminary community approved the Celtic Cross leaders’ grant recommendations.
Smith, who graduates in May, anticipates that the Celtic Cross grant cycle will be similar next year, with applications due March 15 and awards presented in April. For more information, contact the students at CelticCrossMissionSociety@gmail.com and watch for an article about the Celtic Cross Society’s work in the Spring 2014 issue of Crossings. The magazine will be mailed in early May and published on the website.