WASHINGTON, D.C. — Directors of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) awarded $110,000 in Ethnic Local Church grants during their spring meeting here.
Grants strengthen congregations through education, advocacy or leadership development for social-justice engagement.
The Ethnic Local Church Grants strengthen congregations through education, advocacy or leadership development for social-justice engagement. Grants are awarded twice each year. The spring cycle awarded $110,000 to four programs.
The $110,000 in Ethnic Local Church grants was split among programs in three U.S. jurisdictions and the Ethnic/Minority Young Adult Summer Internships. Programs in West Ohio (North Central Jurisdiction), North Texas (South Central) and Tennessee (Southeastern) received grants for immigration advocacy, a Hispanic youth spiritual leadership academy, and work in Nashville’s “Golden Triangle,” Thai, Burmese and Laotian refugee community, respectively.
Immigration Advocacy & Leadership Development in West Ohio Conference will receive $10,000. Funding will provide resources to strengthen immigration ministries building on the momentum from the Immigrant Welcoming Congregation program, an initiative of the General Board of Church & Society.
West Ohio Conference believes it is at a critical point of being able to develop sustainable leadership for immigrant ministry. Thanks to the Immigrant Welcoming Congregations program, the conference has been able to identify and equip key congregations to connect with their immigrant neighbors.
Through the United Methodist connection, West Ohio is partnering with West Michigan Conference to develop a Justice for Our Neighbors clinic, a faith-driven immigrant-welcoming ministry that provides legal services, education and advocacy.
In addition, at least five public witnesses are planned to generate momentum at the state level to coincide with congressional action.
Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy (HYLA), Mexican-American program of the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, will receive $15,000. Perkins has had a long-running commitment to preparing Latino/Latina persons for faithful leaders in Christian ministry.
The grant will support the work of HYLA in identifying and assisting young Latinos/as in their transition from high school to college and from college to graduate school or seminary. HYLA encourages students to pursue higher education and is intentional in assisting students discern their call to ordained ministry, and helping plan their academic and spiritual formation to enter seminary.
The curriculum of HYLA includes developing a basic understanding of justice, advocacy and community organizing.
Advocate for Justice & Hope in the Golden Triangle, a ministry of Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., has been granted $10,000. The grant will help fund a community developer in the Thai, Burmese and Laotian refugee community, who will help this large community acquire survival skills in a new society while surrounded by the faith community.
The community developer will work with them to determine the assets, as well as the needs of this diverse community relating to housing, employment, health care, human rights and education within the Golden Triangle community where they live. The intent is to equip persons to access church-based and community-connected systems for support.
Young Adults Internships
Ethnic Young Adult Summer Internships will receive $75,000. The annual internship administered by the General Board of Church & Society brings young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 to Washington, D.C., to work in social-justice placements. Applicants must have an interest in exploring issues of public policy, justice advocacy and social change.
Interns live in Christian community together where their work weeks are supplemented by evening intern-led devotions, Friday seminars on topics of timely social justice concern, field trips such as to the United Nations, and Sunday worship in United Methodist churches.
More information and applications for grants are available on the General Board of Church & Society’s website at GBCS grants.
More information can also be obtained by contacting the Rev. Neal Christie, GBCS assistant general secretary, Education & Leadership Development, at (202) 488-5611.
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & 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 for the United Nations in New York City.