Celebrating Mission Grants


Hot Dog Ministry, St. James UMC
By Tamica Smith-Jeuitt, Senior Communications Specialist, Mississippi Conference

Photo right: Jeffery McCaskill, the spouse of St. James UMCs Rev. Brenda McCaskill, is grilling hot dogs for the community.  
Since 2008, the hot dog ministry at St. James UMC in Columbus, MS, continues to be a thriving program. The church is located in a disadvantage area of the city, across the street from a low-income housing community. On the second and fourth Saturday of each month, members of this ministry meet at the church where they serve hot dogs with condiments and drinks to neighboring children and adults. This is also a time of fellowship involving lively music and the distribution of Bibles, the church bulletin and other religious literature. 
In 2014, St. James was able to increase their generosity by offering soup thanks to the Mississippi Conference Connectional Ministries Mission Grants. These are matching grants available to United Methodist churches and United Methodist sponsored or related agencies in Mississippi. The gift from the conference to St. James was $2,500. Since then, the church submitted a required report to the conference that explains how the funds were used to buy more food and Christian literature. The report also revealed that the record number of hot dogs given in one setting was 320. A few handwritten notices of appreciation for the hot dog ministry was in the report too. One of the most touching messages came from a child who wrote:  
I am nine year-old and I am about to go to the fourth grade. This church tells you how God loves you and how his son was born. The church takes you step by steps.  
The ministry team reported that they not only wanted to feed the physical body, but offer spiritual food for the soul. The St. James UMC church motto is "The church that strives to include all of God's people through love and service to the world." The St. James hot dog ministry is one way the church is living up to the motto. To read the appreciation letters, click here.  
Follow The Circuit Rider for details on how to apply for the annual mission grants in the fall.
About Mission Grants
The Mississippi Conference Connectional Ministries Mission Grants are matching grants available to United Methodist churches and United Methodist sponsored or related agencies in Mississippi.  Grants range from $500 to $2,500 per project, with one award of up to $10,000. They are awarded to form spiritual leaders, new places for new people, connections through existing congregations and engagement in ministry with the poor; therefore, living out the four Core Values of The POWER of We.