$50,000 in Peace with Justice Grants Go to 15 Ministries

April 22, 2010

Recipients comprise six Central Conference projects and nine in four U.S. jurisdictions.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has awarded grants totaling $50,000 to 15 Peace with Justice ministries. The grants are awarded in conjunction with the denomination's Peace with Justice Sunday, which witnesses to God's demand for a faithful, just, disarmed and secure world.
 
Peace with Justice Sunday, May 30 this year, is one of the six denomination-wide Special Sundays with offering. Established by the 1988 General Conference, the denomination's highest policy-making body, Peace with Justice Sunday supports programs that advocate peace and justice at home and around the world.
 
Half of the Special Sunday offering is retained in the annual conference to fund local peace with justice programs. Half is remitted to the General Board of Church & Society to help fund U.S. and global work in social action, public-policy education and advocacy.
 
Forty-six ministries requested funding for 2010. At its spring meeting, GBCS’s board of directors selected 15 to receive grants.
 
Recipients comprise six Central Conference projects and nine in four U.S. jurisdictions. Three recipients are in the South Central Jurisdiction, three in the Southeast, one in North Central and two in Northeast. The Central Conference awards went to three projects in the Philippines and one each in Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria.
 
Grant recipients are as follows:
 
Africa conferences
Migori (Kenya) Inter-Religious Justice & Peace Project will receive $5,000. The funds will support a Peacemaking & Justice for the Neighbor seminar. The five-day event will explore root causes of hate crimes, violence and injustices. Tools and techniques of peacemaking will be presented.
 
Children Peace Builders Club/Brighter Future Children Rescue Center in Monrovia, Liberia, will receive $5,000. This ministry of the Dept. of Children's Ministries of the Liberia Conference addresses children throughout the country regardless of tribe, creed, social status or denomination. The Children Peace Builders Club trains former child soldiers, who were traumatized by drugs, abuse and abandoned on the streets, to become agents of peace in their communities.
 
A program to develop leaders among United Methodists in Nigeria will receive $4,000. The grant is to the Nigeria Conference's Jalingo District Communication. A workshop will build capacity in the district on conflict resolution and reconciliation. The workshop will develop leaders who can address church conflict and management issues and aggression in Nigeria’s Taraba State.
 
The Philippines
The Just Peace League, a program of the Board of Church & Society of the Southern Tagalog Provisional Philippines Conference East, will receive $2,400. The conference-wide program seeks to organize forums to address social conditions in the region. Besides education, the program includes advocacy with the local and national government to address conflict and poverty.
 
People's International Observers' Mission 2010 will receive $1,000. The project is to protect the nation's electoral process by investigating and exposing fraud and violence in the May elections. The effort will be administered by an ecumenical team that includes the Philippines Central Conference Board of Church & Society.
 
Small Farmers Action on Poverty & Exploitation will receive $5,000. The project of the Parish Peasants' Union, a ministry of Christ United Methodist Church, Cotabato, seeks to assist 16 poor families in working out liberation from poverty and exploitation by landlords and predatory lenders. Among its programs is to assist the farmers in forming their own savings and credit union. Christ UMC is a member of the Mindanao Philippines Conference.
 
Northeastern Jurisdiction
Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children & Families will receive $1,600. The council, founded by United Methodist clergy, is a health advocacy, education and services organization to involve the faith community in rectifying disparities in public health. Historically related to the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, its president and executive director are both United Methodist clergy members.
 
The West Virginia Council of Churches will receive $3,000 for non-violence communication training. The program is in response to tensions and sporadic episodes of violence around the issue of environment care in West Virginia. The goal is to hold six small-group communications trainings to develop a cadre of mediators for hearings and rallies to avoid escalation to violent confrontations.
 
North Central Jurisdiction
Andrew's Answer, a ministry of United (Methodist) Church of Rogers Park in Chicago, will receive $2,500. Andrew's Answer provides free after-school programs and summer camps to neighborhood children, and counseling services. It also serves as a mission trip center for youths from United Methodist churches to come to Chicago and learn about justice and faith. The youths help run various ministries at United Church of Rogers Park, including the free six-week summer camp for neighborhood children, many of whom are immigrants from around the world coping with poverty.
 
Southeastern Jurisdiction
"Children at the Table of Peace," Lake Junaluska, N.C., will receive $5,000. Situated in the Western North Carolina Conference, Lake Junaluska Conference & Resort Center will focus its third annual peace program on children and youths. The program will increase awareness of hurts and needs of young people, and explore steps to raise them for the work of peace-building. Featured speaker for this year's conference, Sept. 19-21, is Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund.
 
Peace & Justice Clinic in Matthews, N.C., will receive $2,500. The grant will help fund a Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) Regional Project under United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Matthews United Methodist Church in the Charlotte District of the Western North Carolina Conference is the proposed first site for the JFON clinic. JFON provides free, immigration services and encourages cross-cultural community building. The JFON program also includes advocacy and theological reflection on biblical imperatives regarding U.S. immigration policies and treatment of newcomers. The project is endorsed by both Western North Carolina and North Carolina conferences.
 
The Stop Wage Theft Project of Workers Interfaith Network in Memphis, Tenn., will receive $3,500. The project addresses wage theft: when workers are paid below the minimum wage, are not paid overtime, or are not paid at all. The project is to advocate for policies that prevent wage theft and to improve the process of investigating cases. Workers Interfaith Network is an ecumenical organization that works with several United Methodist churches in the Memphis Conference. Its executive director is a United Methodist deacon.
South Central Jurisdiction
 
The Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA) Midwest in Nebraska Conference will receive $5,000. College students will work with HYLA staff members to organize Hispanic/Latino youths and young adults to develop a curriculum to help address concerns for just immigration policy and practices in line with United Methodist Social Principles.
The proposal originated with United Methodist Hispanic college students that participate with HYLA at Perkins School of Theology and the Theology School at Drew University. The academy, sponsored by the Missouri Rivers District, would be held during the summer in Omaha and be open to other conferences in the Midwest to participate.
 
The Women's Storybook Project at Westlake United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas, will receive $2,000. The project connects incarcerated women to their children through literature. United Methodist Women at Westlake UMC sends a team of volunteers to Gatesville Women's Prison every other month to help incarcerated women read on tape to their children. The book and tape are then sent to each child.
 
A Black Male Initiative at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Ark., will receive $2,500. The goal is to develop a social justice model that focuses on leadership development and civic engagement of undergraduate minority males. Through Philander Smith College’s Black Male Initiative, 25 minority students and two administrators will participate in a laboratory experience to address needs of minority men, including the role that structural and institutional racism plays in addressing these needs.
 
Grant objectives
 
To qualify for a Peace with Justice Grant, applicants must work toward achieving at least one of the following objectives:
·         Assist United Methodists in understanding and responding to violence and militarism;
·         Involve United Methodists in efforts to end conflicts and violent aggression around the world;
·         Promote just national and international policies and actions, governmental and non-governmental, seeking to restore communities and respond to the disproportionate effect of injustices on racial and ethnic persons; and
·         Support policies that promote systematic economic justice and the self-development of peoples.
 
For more information, including application procedures, visit Peace with Justice Grants on the GBCS website (www.umc-gbcs.org). You can also contact Mark Harrison (mharrison@umc-gbcs.org), director of GBCS's Peace with Justice work area, (202) 488-5645.
 
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. The board's primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education and Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center at the United Nations.