Global Ministries’ board of directors approved 261 grants to assist mission-related personnel of denominational units and colleague churches outside of the U.S.
Mission grants foster more mission around the world
By Elliott Wright*
New York, NY., October 19, 2015—Directors of The United Methodist Church’s mission agency, meeting in New York City, October 1–3, approved 261 small grants totaling more than a million dollars to assist mission-related personnel of denominational units and colleague churches outside of the United States. The program, called Nationals in Mission, supports mission partners build their capacity to undertake their own mission efforts.
“Nationals in Mission is an old program of great value that has received relatively little attention across the years,” said Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the General Board of Global Ministries in an interview. “It is a way in which the connectional church can, for example, assist the Estonia Annual Conference to employ a director of children’s ministries, or the Northern Nigeria Conference to engage a rural health director, or the Methodist Church of Mexico to hire a director of new church development in Culiacan.”
The total allocated for 2016 grants is $1,025,020. None of the recipients are Global Ministries missionaries. A majority of the grants go to annual (regional) United Methodist conferences in Africa, where most of the church’s membership outside the United States is concentrated. For 2016, grants for Africa total 167; for Asia/Pacific region, 33; for Europe/Eurasia, 33; and Latin America/Caribbean, 28. Few of the small salary allocations exceed $5,000, and are reported by position title rather than individuals.
Allocations are made in four categories corresponding to the four current focus areas of The United Methodist Church: $445,320 for congregational development, $352,700 for leadership development, $184,000 for ministry with the poor, and $43,000 for global health. The funds come from a Nationals in Mission category in the agency’s budget.
Ecumenical partners also qualify for the grants, such as regional councils of churches in which Methodists are significantly involved.
Other grants approved by directors in the early October meeting include:
- Funds to upgrade church facilities of the Mongolia Mission, including $135,000 from a special property trust to renovate a military barracks on the property of Gerelt Mission Center for cold weather use by church and community; and $45,000 from the same trust to provide an alternative power generation for the Chingeltei Mission Center. A back-up source of electricity is necessary to keep pipes from freezing during the frequent power outages. The Korean United Methodist Church in California is contributing another $35,000 to the Gerelt project. Global Ministries made a small contribution of $1,500 toward the purchase of land and a Ger (tent) for a new church in the village of Takhit in Songin Khairhan District; an additional $7,500 toward this project was donated by Grace Korean United Methodist Church in Westwood, New Jersey.
- Support in the amount of $36,200 toward a training conference on drug and alcohol abuse being organized for 2016 by the European Board of Drug and Alcohol Concerns and The United Methodist Church in Germany to benefit recovery/prevention ministries in Europe and Eurasia. These funds were from the Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence (SPSARV), a General Conference mandated program.
- An allocation of $10,000 to Community World Service of Asia for a program to improve security in church-run schools in Pakistan, where violence against Christian institutions is all too frequent, will assist 22 schools. This work has a projected budget in excess of $100,000; other contributions toward the program come from the British Methodist Church and the Church of Sweden (Lutheran). The mission partner in the project is the United Church of Pakistan.
- A grant in amount of $10,000 for a vocational training program for now orphaned, former child combatants in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The program was developed by Kamina Methodist University and Kamina-Ville United Methodist Church, in collaboration with the North Katanga Episcopal Area.
- A gift of $10,000 to the Methodist Church of Peru to support a leadership training program for pastors and lay leaders. This is needed to underscore Wesleyan theology in a country with increasing religious diversity. Funds for this grant come from the Encounter with Christ in Latin America and Caribbean fund, an endowment for mission in Latin America.
Mission grants made by Global Ministries derive from multiple sources, including the basic budget, contributions through the Advance for Christ and His Church, endowments, and special trusts.
*Elliott Wright is an information consultant working with the General Board of Global Ministries.