Seed grants help churches reach out to community


By the Advocate

Churches that want to enhance or expand their welcoming and hospitality ministry before Easter can apply for Welcoming Seed Grants from the conference Communications Commission.

The commission wants to award up to $500 in seed money to a church in each of the conference’s 11 districts. The grants are intended to assist churches located in “under-served” areas in creating a welcoming atmosphere.

In 2008, seed grants will be offered for Lent and for back-to-school in September. The Communications Commission offers the grants to support The United Methodist Church’s welcoming and hospitality campaign. “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” is the well-known theme of the campaign.

In 2007, seed grants were awarded to 22 churches during the back-to-school and Advent seasons. The following churches received grants for Advent:

  • Bethany UMC, D’Lo
  • Broadmeadow UMC, Jackson
  • Charleston UMC, Charleston
  • Fairview UMC, Pontotoc
  • First UMC, Pass Christian
  • Glendale UMC, Hattiesburg
  • New Hope UMC, Waynesboro
  • Ovett UMC, Ovett
  • St. James UMC, Columbus
  • Walnut Grove UMC, Walnut Grove
  • White Oak UMC, Crystal Springs

Churches that receive the seed money are encouraged to be creative in how they enhance or expand their welcoming and hospitality efforts. Past seed grant projects have included:

  • Printing door hangers and flyers to distribute around the area inviting the community to the church’s seasonal services and activities
  • Hosting a special dinner or other event for the community
  • Installing an attractive new church sign so that newcomers will know the name of the church, service times, pastor’s name, etc.  
  • Making care packages to pass out to school children, homeless persons and families in the area with information about the church’s ministries tucked inside

To be considered for a grant, a church must be located in an “under-served” area such as an isolated rural area, urban transitional area or economically disadvantaged area; must be committed to living out the “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” theme, welcoming all who come; and want to enhance or expand its welcoming and hospitality ministry.

Seed grants must be used during Lent. Application deadline is Jan. 30. Applications are available at or from the conference and district offices. For more information, contact Gwen Green, conference communications director, at or 601-354-0515.