NFAAUM is recipient, for convocation being held in California-Nevada this summer; grants are split among 11 programs in four jurisdictions, one central conference
Directors of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) awarded $205,295 in Ethnic Local Church Grants at the board's spring meeting in Arlington, Virginia this month.
The Ethnic Local Church Grants program intends to strengthen congregations through education, or advocacy or leadership development for social justice engagement. Grants are awarded twice each year.
The $205,295 in Ethnic Local Church Grants was split among 11 programs in four U.S. jurisdictions and one African Central Conference. Two grants went to churchwide programs. The programs are spread among nine annual conferences, one national ethnic federation, and a cooperative program between a general agency and general commission.
Grants go to a wide variety of ministries: leadership development among Asian-American United Methodists, judicial reform in Liberia, counseling and community building among Latino women in North Carolina, and educational needs of recent immigrant and refugee youths in New York.
Intervention with newcomer youths
Emmaus Refugee and Immigrant Family Support Services Intervention with Newcomer Youths, a program of Emmaus United Methodist Church in Albany, New York, will receive $5,000. The multi-ethnic and multi-national congregation seeks to address the educational needs of recent immigrants and refugee youths. The congregation includes persons from Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Myanmar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Gabon.
Emmaus UMC will build on its current English-as-a-Second-Language after-school and summer camps program for refugee children. Focus of the expanded ministry is to equip youth leaders to intervene in refugee outreach, legislative advocacy, and community relationships. Grant monies will support leadership development and program supplies.
The Open Table School of Transformation and Change in Providence, Rhode Island, will receive $16,600. A program of Open Table of Christ United Methodist Church's New Seeds extension ministry, the program builds on substantial mercy and justice ministries, according to the GBCS directors. The program offers an action/reflection approach to education, social change, and social holiness. Actions focus on labor organizing, meal distribution, and Bible institutes.
In less than four years, Open Table of Christ UMC has assembled a congregation comprising persons from North America, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Its Project Outreach now feeds about 1,200 persons a month and the congregation recently successfully led an effort to reopen a local library.
Grant funds will support building costs and retreat leadership development.
Fifteen thousand dollars was approved for the Leadership Institute of Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Goal of the program is to engage local youths to explore ways to prevent violence and aggression in their schools.
This new initiative will build on existing mentoring programs for African-American girls. The institute will focus on social activism, conflict resolution training, and workshops with education professionals. A program feature offers a trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in a United Methodist Seminar. Grant money will support policy workshops and trips to Washington, D.C.
The Alabama-West Florida Conference will receive $5,000 to build on existing work with the National Plan for Hispanic and Latino Ministries. The grant is for leadership training and development among Hispanic/Latino constituents of the conference. The money from GBCS will go toward facilitators' costs, such as translating materials from English into Spanish.
Unhoused women in New Orleans
First Grace Community Alliance Hagar's House is a joint project of an African-American and an Anglo congregation. GBCS has approved a $7,000 grant. The alliance founded a transitional housing community that responds to the remnants of Hurricane Katrina, such as women and children left unhoused in New Orleans.
Hagar's House focuses on social justice education, advocacy skills training, and specific campaigns aimed at the needs of unhoused women. Local church, foundation, and ecumenical funding supports the alliance. Grant monies will apply toward advocacy training.
The Human Rights Monitor, the peace with justice program of the Liberia Conference in West Africa, will receive $38,500. The grant will support ongoing efforts to mobilize response to the promotion of human rights, democracy, judicial reform, and good governance and peace in Liberia, which is slowly recovering from a years-long civil war and injustices. The ministry will train persons to advocate, monitor, and mobilize United Methodists on legislative issues. GBCS funds will support training.
La Casa de la Mujer
Durham Hispanic Ministries and Sanctuary United Methodist Church in North Carolina Conference will receive $10,600 for La Casa de la Mujer (Latina Women Leadership House). The new initiative of outreach, counseling, and community building targets Latino women, primarily. It will empower marginalized women, most of them recent immigrants, with tools to support themselves and to organize to seek systemic justice.
The initiative involves a partnership between Durham Hispanic Ministries and Sanctuary UMC, a newly reorganized mission congregation. The GBCS grant will fund start-up supplies.
Ten thousand dollars will go to Hope for Mississippi Delta, a program of Hope Ministries, which is a mission church of the Mississippi Conference. The Mississippi Delta is among the most economically disadvantaged areas of the United States. This ministry is to enable using the Circles Campaign Services evaluation and follow up as a method to build capacity for anti-poverty work in the region. GBCS monies will support conference training.
The National Federation of Asian-American United Methodists (NFAAUM) will receive $10,000 for leadership development. The funds are targeted at NFAAUM's Pan-Asian Convocation this summer in San Jose, California. The grant will provide scholarships to attend and underwrite resources.
The three-day event, July 29-31, offers Bible study, workshops, and action and advocacy training with a focus on immigration. Ten Asian sub-ethnic groups will attend. A major component of the convocation will be disseminating information on immigration issues and discussing ways to present Asian-American perspectives on its many facets.
Ethnic young adult internships
Eighty thousand dollars was approved for the 2010 Ethnic Young Adult Summer Internship Program in Washington, D.C. This program is a joint endeavor of the Inter-Ethnic Strategy Development Group (IESDG) of the General Commission on Religion and Race and GBCS. IESDG is comprised of the leaders of the denomination's five U.S. racial/ethnic caucuses: Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans (MARCHA), the Native American International Caucus, the National Federation of Asian-American United Methodists, and the Pacific Islander National Caucus of United Methodists (PINCUM).
Ethnic minority students, ages 18-25, are recruited from around the world to work in national and international advocacy placements in Washington, D.C. The students live in Christian community. Besides working, they also attend seminars on social justice issues, and worship at a different church each week. GBCS supervises their placements and activities.
The Church's Mission and Immigration Cooperative Ministry Team (CMT) 3 of Rio Grande Conference, San Antonio, Texas, will receive $26,095 for Church's Mission and Immigration initiative. Local churches in the conference are working in clusters with CMT to develop ministries with the immigrant community. Rio Grande is the only United Methodist conference that comprises only Hispanic/Latino ethnic local churches.
The conference's immigration advocacy initiative is in accordance with its Comprehensive Plan for Ministry with the Poor. The program offers leadership development, public policy advocacy, and a component to connect mercy and systemic advocacy for justice related to immigration.
More information and applications are available on the GBCS website at GBCS Grants (http://www.umc-gbcs.org/grants). Find out more about the grants program by contacting the Rev. Neal Christie, GBCS assistant general secretary for education and leadership development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or202.488.5611.