Grants Supplement Mission Personnel Needs in 52 Countries
By Elliott Wright*
Small grants totaling $868,170 will allow The United Methodist Church and its mission partners in 52 countries outside of the United States to supplement mission personnel needs next year.
The 2018 allocation for the “Nationals in Mission” program was approved on October 13, 2017 by directors of the General Board of Global Ministries, the denomination’s international mission agency.
PHOTO: THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF LIBERIA
Grants will cover salary supplements for 248 mission-related positions ranging from a biblical education coordinator in Bulgaria, to a youth coordinator in Zimbabwe, a worker with at-risk children in Estonia, to a trainer for village health workers in Cambodia and a border pastor in Mexico.
Nationals in Mission is a long-standing ministry that allows church units and partner denominations around the world to apply for support to cover part of the expense of hiring qualified nationals to fill mission needs. These grants are made in the four current United Methodist priority areas: leadership development, congregational development, ministry with the poor, and global health.
Other grants for next year will include supplements for:
• Supervision for the new Mission Initiative in the Central African Republic,
• Communication coordination for the Mission in Thailand and Methodist Church in Peru,
• Work with minority churches in Portugal,
• Church development in the Dominican Republic,
• Evangelistic outreach in Sierra Leone.
• Leadership training in Sri Lanka, and
• HIV/AIDS prevention in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
Of the 248 positions for which funding was approved, a majority are in the annual (regional) conferences of Africa; $444,990, more than half of the total, was designated for congregational development projects, with $235,080 in the leadership development category, $160,900 for ministries with the poor, and $27,200 for global health.
The goal of Nationals in Mission is to build the professional and economic capacity of churches with limited financial resources, according to Roland Fernandes, general treasurer of Global Ministries.
In another action, the Global Ministries directors approved a $50,000 allocation from overseas property reserves for church construction and repair projects in the Asia and Pacific region, including three sites in Cambodia, nine in Laos, five in Mongolia, and four in Thailand for a total of 21 churches. The $50,000 is in addition to another $6,650 from Asia Mission Initiative budgets for the projects. Another $15,000 grant will fund new church construction in Tanzannia.
Other grants included:
• Afghanistan: $20,000 for a strategic study and start-up costs for ecumenical, community-based work in mental health and eye care;
• Côte d’Ivoire: $10,000 for ministries with disadvantaged girls;
• United States: $10,000 for pastoral support for the Weleetka Indian United Methodist Fellowship with the boundaries of the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma;
• Brazil: $10,000 for a church-based recycling project aimed at employment in a poor area of Curitiba; and
• Palestine: $5,000 for a young adult conference on Christ at the Checkpoint sponsored by the Bethlehem Bible College, where the agency has missionaries.
Funds for such mission grants come from a variety of sources, including designated reserves and gifts, endowments, and program budgets.
*Elliott Wright is information consultant for Global Ministries.