The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) will award nearly $98,000 in grants to seven United Methodist Church projects that will support or replicate culturally diverse, relevant and vital congregations; develop culturally competent leadership and ministries; or promote institutional equity.
The 2013 grants, made possible through the CORR Action Fund (formerly the “Minority Group Self-Determination Fund”), “serve to carry out GCORR’s commitment to building the capacity of The United Methodist Church to become contextually relevant and reach more people, younger people, and more diverse people as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” said GCORR General Secretary Erin Hawkins.
Two Conferences, one jurisdiction, one seminary, and three local United Methodist Churches received grants to fund their projects over a 12-month period. A brief description of each follows.
East Ohio Annual Conference ($15,000)
Study and discuss selected sermons by John Wesley to increase deeper understanding around the underpinnings of Methodism. Participants from the North Central Jurisdiction will engage in study and discussion through presentations and quarterly luncheon-lectures with leaders with expertise in these sermons.
New York Annual Conference ($13,650)
This program will create a three-day workshop focused on strengthening the cultural competency of selected clergy and laity teams within the NYAC. Participating clergy and laity will create strategic plans to actively cross racial and cultural boundaries in their communities to work toward racial justice and equity.
Northeastern Jurisdiction Multiethnic Center for Ministry/Urban Steering Network ($12,970)
Three United Methodist Seminaries (Boston University School of Theology, Boston, MA; The Theological School at Drew University, Madison, NJ; and Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC) agreed to collaborate to create an Urban Institute to be held in a different Northeastern Jurisdiction urban context each year. This funding will assist in creating the New York City Urban Institute to address key issues impacting the ministries of five urban churches.
Gammon Theological Seminary ($13,800)
Gammon will continue its Trailblazers Justice Conference as well as its Racial Justice Institute, a summer week-long intensive training program to provide practical tools for sharpening skills of those interested in racial justice activism.
Epworth UMC, Gaithersburg, MD ($20,000)
This church, a multicultural ministry with a specific focus on Spanish language ministry and a growing African community, seeks to grow as a multicultural-multilingual community. They are prioritizing strong and sustainable children, youth, and young adult discipleship as a primary pillar of the church and are becoming a stronger part of their community through risk-taking outreach, hospitality, and publicity.
Rhems UMC, New Bern, NC ($14,650)
This project will expand the Raising Refugees as Leaders program, which assists non-English speaking refugees who are members of the congregation in obtaining citizenship and learning conversational English in order to become leaders in the church.
Asbury UMC, York, PA ($7,889)
This project will organize and implement the Race Matters Conference to deliver a cultural competency learning experience to leaders in the local faith, business, government, and academic communities. United Methodist churches and Community leaders will discuss how to intentionally create an inclusive and diverse population.
The CORR Action Fund committee selected the seven 2013 grant recipients out of a total of 16 proposals.
“We’re excited about the potential of these projects to transform the Church,” said GCORR Board of Directors member and CORR Action Fund Committee Chair Joseph Harris. “Over the quadrennium, we look forward to funding more transformative projects that embrace and reflect the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of our global communities.”
GCORR will follow the work of each grant recipient over the next year and provide updates and progress reports via the website, blog and through the creation of case studies.