February 21, 2024


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(COCHUSA National Headquarters- Jackson, MS) – The Church of Christ (Holiness) USA has received a $300,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish COCHUSA FORWARD, a church revitalization program developed by the denomination’s National Church Evangelism and Mission Board.

The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to encourage the flourishing of congregations by helping them deepen their relationships with God, enhance their connections with each other, and contribute to the vitality of their communities and the world.

COCHUSA FORWARD will support congregations in expanding their post-pandemic engagement capacities by developing and partnering in outwardly focused ministries. With a view towards re-igniting the zeal for the missional mandates of scripture, Pastors and congregants will create collaborative networks designed to serve the church and community in a post-pandemic era.

“Congregations play an essential role in deepening the faith of individuals and contributing to the vitality of communities,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “We hope that these programs will nurture the vibrancy and spark the creativity of congregations, helping them imagine new ways to share God’s love in their communities and across the globe.”

Bishop H. Vonzell Castilla, chairman of the National Church Evangelism and Mission Board, explained the grant will not only get parishioners back into the pews, but bring people – especially young adults – into active participation in the congregational life of the church.

“Our people, especially our young adults, want to be a part of a church which addresses the unique issues facing our communities, including racism and economic disparities,” he added.

“This program will provide a vehicle for COCHUSA to show communities across the nation that we take seriously the command of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to show love to the downtrodden and dispossessed, those he called ‘the least of these.’”

COCHUSA is one of 105 organizations that has received grants though a competitive round of the Thriving Congregations Initiative. Reflecting a wide variety of Christian traditions, the organizations represent mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox, peace church and Pentecostal faith communities.

Bishop Lindsay E. Jones, COCHUSA National President, said, “On behalf of the Board of Bishops of the Church of Christ (Holiness) USA, we express our appreciation to the Lilly Endowment Inc. for its dedication to improving the quality of life for communities across this nation since 1937. We are grateful to receive this grant, the largest in our movement’s 127-year history. This grant will allow us to foster community in new and exciting ways.”

For more information about the COCHUSA, visit www.cochusa.org.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. A principal aim of the Endowment’s religion grantmaking is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen the pastoral and lay leadership of Christian communities. The Endowment also seeks to improve public understanding of diverse religious traditions by supporting fair and accurate portrayals of the role religion plays in the United States and across the globe.

About the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.

Founded by Rev. Charles Price Jones in 1897, the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. commonly referred to as COCHUSA share a common early history with the Church of God in Christ (COGIC).  A predominantly African-American denomination, COCHUSA is under the leadership of Bishop Vernon E. Kennebrew, Senior Bishop, and Bishop Lindsay E. Jones, National President. The Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. is divided into eight dioceses – Eastern, North Central, Northern, Pacific Northwest, South Central, Southeastern, Southwestern, and Western. Collectively, these dioceses are comprised of congregations in the United States, the Dominican Republic and Africa.