Special grants augment mission in 51 countries
By Elliott Wright*
Two hundred thirty-eight United Methodist mission workers in their own countries — a total of 51 — will receive modest support grants for 2019 from the denomination’s worldwide mission agency, the General Board of Global Ministries.
Global Ministries’ directors, meeting Oct. 11-13, approved a total of $811,705 for “Nationals in Mission Grants.” The stipends, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 with a median around $3,000, supplement the costs of people needed for emerging and innovative ministries of United Methodist and ecumenical mission partners in Africa, the Asia/Pacific region, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The grants are made to organizations, not individuals, for specific ministries. They cover education, administration, church planting, technical support, legal services, health, music and worship, communications, and anti-poverty programs. Ministries for children, youth and women are notable on the approved lists.
Through the program:
• Migrants in Tunisia, Albania and Finland will receive pastoral services.
• Two Nigerian annual conferences will have rural health directors.
• An evangelist will preach in areas along the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
• United Methodists in Russia will have a youth and young adult ministries coordinator.
• Uruguay will have someone to work with volunteer in mission teams.
• The church in the Philippines will increase its capacity to offer Christ in Nepal.
Grants are made in four categories, corresponding to the four current focus area of The United Methodist Church: leadership development, congregational development, ministries with the poor, and global health. Of the 2019 allocation, 97 grants totaling $398,485 are for congregational development, 75 grants totaling $232,990 for leadership development, 55 grants totaling $159,730 for ministry with the poor, and 11 grants totaling $20,500 for global health. Health ministries also receive support from other Global Ministries resources.
Congregational development receives the largest proportion because for Global Ministries this is the category with the largest aggregate of designated contributions and endowments.
The largest number of grants in all four categories goes to Africa, the area of greatest United Methodist concentration outside of the United States. Africa received 152 of the 238 grants for next year.
Other grants approved by directors in October included:
• $50,000 to Paine College, a historical black institution in Augusta, Georgia, for a service-learning project in which students on scholarship act as mentors to young people from the area. The grant is from the proceeds of a board-managed endowment, the Elsie Bonn Fund, that supports African-American educational institutions in the United States and ministries in India. This income is from property in Texas that a laywoman left to the mission agency.
• $50,000 to the Sierra Leone Annual Conference for the construction of a new church and United Methodist center in Port Loko, a district capital in the West African country. A 200-member Port Loko congregation now worships in a college auditorium. The new complex, for which land has been acquired, will include an elementary school and, eventually, a health clinic. The annual conference will provide $46,000 toward construction. The Global Ministries’ grant comes from an Overseas Property Reserve fund.
• $10,000 to the Wilshire Native American Fellowship of Portland, Oregon, for kitchen renovation at the church housing the major Native American ministry of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. The funds are from receipts of the annual Native American Ministries Sunday offering.
• $10,000 for human rights education among Palestinian women and youth through “BADIL” (Arabic for “alternative”), a nongovernmental organization that provides training in nonviolent legal and advocacy strategies for achieving human rights. The funds are from an endowment, the Angeline Newman Fund, restricted to work among Palestinians.
• $12,000 to the Next Generation Children’s Ministry Initiative of Troy Hope Ministry, a multi-sited program related to Korean United Methodist churches in the U.S. The emphasis is on equipping pastors and laity for effective ministries with children; funds from the Next Generation Leadership Grants from Korean-American Ministries.
*Elliott Wright is the information consultant for Global Ministries.