Emerging Ministry Grants Launch Day of Service, Ministry for Formerly Incarcerated


By Nicole Burdakin
Emerging Ministry Grants launch day of service, ministry for formerly incarcerated | GBHEM
Left, the Rev. Amelia C. Boomershine, one of the Emerging Ministry Grant recipients. Right, the Rev. Eddie Cameron, Emerging Ministry Grant recipient, at the Labor of Lancaster event. Photo credit: Ken Patton

Two deacons in The United Methodist Church have been awarded 2014 Emerging Ministry Grants from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. One will launch a community-wide day of service in Lancaster City, Pa., and the other will develop a ministry of spiritual formation for formerly incarcerated people in the West Ohio Conference.

“The two ministries awarded grants are particularly intentional about bringing hope to those who may be losing hope, offering very practical assistance that helps people reclaim self-determination, building community, and engaging church people in ministry to their neighbors,” said the Rev. Victoria Rebeck, director of Deacon Ministry Development and Certification in Specialized Ministry at GBHEM.

2014 Emerging Ministry Grants of $2,500 were awarded to:

  • The Rev. Eddie Cameron, Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, for Labor for Lancaster, a community-wide day of service in the northeast section of Lancaster City designed to bring hope to the city through acts of service, love, justice, mercy and grace.
  • The Rev. Amelia Boomershine, West Ohio Conference, for “Seeds of Grace,” a ministry of spiritual formation with people who are or have been incarcerated through engagement with biblical stories and advocacy for restorative justice.

“Seeds of Grace” intends to partner with the Montgomery County Jail in Dayton and Horizon Prison Initiative in Chillicothe Correction Institution in Chillicothe, Ohio. The program will be an integral part of the development of ministry with inmates and “returning citizens” in the greater Dayton region. According to Boomershine, officials at all levels have recognized that good programming, spiritual formation, and church relationship reduce violence within correctional institutions and decrease the rate of recidivism.

The Labor for Lancaster day of service will take place at the end of August. The organizers have worked to build partnerships with two organizations that serve families and children in the cycle of homelessness to achieve sustainable living and employment, the city parks department and the local chapter of the American Red Cross, among others.

The Division of Ordained Ministry of GBHEM awards Emerging Ministry Grants to encourage United Methodist deacons and diaconal ministers to develop cutting-edge and innovative ministries in peace and justice that reach outside the walls of the church. These may be one-time events or projects, or programs that are intended to be ongoing.

About 16 applications were reviewed for this round of grants.

“We regretted that we were not able to offer each applicant a grant,” said Rebeck. “They all deserve support for the ways they lead church people to bring Christ’s love to their neighbors in very practical ways.”

Deacons and diaconal ministers are eligible to apply for grants up to $5,000 to help support a new ministry they are developing. A project may receive this grant only once.

“Deacons lead congregations into ministries of compassion and justice with the marginalized and forgotten in our world,” said Rebeck. “Given that many people do not choose to visit a worship service—and many of them want to do hands-on work to improve the world—deacons are in a key position to lead United Methodists to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

If you would like more information about the emerging ministry grant, contact Victoria Rebeck, director of Deacon Ministry Development and Certification in Specialized Ministry at GBHEM.

Burdakin is editorial and production assistant, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.