Board approves $114,000 in ethnic program grants
NOTE: For related coverage of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society's meeting, see UMNS stories #164, #170 and #176.
HERNDON, Va. (UMNS) - Programs serving ethnic minorities will receive more than $100,000 in grants authorized by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.
Voting directors of the United Methodist Church's social advocacy agency acted on the grants during their March 20-23 meeting.
In all, eight grants totaling $114,000 were given for advocacy and justice-oriented programs in the United States and the African country of Ghana. The Ethnic Local Church Fund was created to help the denomination's program boards support local church and annual conference ministries in each board's area of concern.
The largest grant awarded this spring, $40,000, will help support the Ethnic Young Adult Summer Interns at the board for the eight weeks they will spend in the nation's capital. They will work in advocacy and serving as resource people for annual conferences, campus ministries, ethnic caucuses and state and federal offices.
Issue seminars supplement their placements and include such topics as gender equity and violence against women, racism and racial justice, and economic justice and poverty. Applicants include young adults from the central conferences - regional units of the church in Africa, Europe and Asia - who are already in the United States. The multicultural group also learns about the United Methodist Church and how it addresses the issues.
A $20,000 grant will support a program in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference that serves Native American youth of 88 churches. The One Voice One Community program is aimed at developing in the young a political consciousness as native people.
The program, part of the conference comprehensive plan, plans to use events such as a rock concert and a United Methodist seminar as well as district and conference workshops to teach about tribal, state and national political processes.
A $15,000 grant will help a social justice education and advocacy event to raise Korean United Methodist awareness about the issue of reunification of North and South Korea. The California-Pacific Annual Conference is administering the grant, and programming leadership is provided by the Los Angeles-based Korean Christian Newsweek and the National Association of Korean United Methodists. The event will be a three-day seminar, drawing immigrant peace and justice activists, first- and second-generation Korean Americans and Korea experts.
A program called "Bridging the Gap of the Social Health Needs of Native Americans in the Southeastern Jurisdiction" is also receiving a $15,000 grant. The advocacy effort seeks to involve Native American pastoral leaders from nine states in advocating for services and ministries that address family violence, substance abuse, homelessness, suicide and sexually transmitted diseases. The program's goal is to identify and prepare leaders to serve as liaisons and advocates to health and human service agencies as well as emergency crisis programs.
The board approved a $12,000 grant to the Focus on Youth Initiative Program of the Black Methodists for Church Renewal in the North Carolina Annual Conference.
The conference comprehensive plan provides the framework for this collaboration of 12 small and medium churches to build a program of leadership training and social education for African-American youth. It will include a six-part study of the denomination's Social Principles; an advocacy seminar in Washington; weekend immersion experiences with Native American, Anglo and African-American communities; a mission trip to Jasper, Texas; a cultural immersion trip to Jamaica and other events.
The Asian Help Services of Metro Ministries in the South Indiana Annual Conference and Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis conduct an ongoing leadership training program that reaches 300 central Indiana Asian communities including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino and Thai people. The $5,000 grant is being given for supplies and stipends for leadership training workshops.
Two grants of $3,500 are going to women's groups in the autonomous Methodist Church of Ghana.
The Christian Women United Development Front in Ghana's North Volta Conference asked for a grant to train women evangelists with theological education about issues such as forced marriage and genital mutilation as well as economic justice for single mothers. The evangelists will work among the rural poor through the project, called "Strengthening the Faith of the Poor Christians."
The other award will be used by the Central Volta Methodist Women in a project called "Women Victims of Domestic Violence," which will address social justice and empowerment of women about their human rights, particularly against rape and other gender-related offenses.
“We believe in God and in each other.”The people of The United Methodist Church
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