NASHVILLE, Tenn. July 12, 2017/Discipleship Ministries/ – Racial justice projects initiated and led by young people seeking a church that is open, loving and caring for all people will receive financial support with funds allocated by the Connectional Table, Discipleship Ministries, and two other United Methodist general agencies.
Grants up to $2,500 will be available later this year under the new program to be administered by Young People’s Ministries (YPM), a unit of Discipleship Ministries.
“During the racism gathering convened by Young People’s Ministries in 2016, the group of young black leaders, allies, and Discipleship Ministries staff identified a number of ideas originating with young people,” said Michael Ratliff, Associate General Secretary at Discipleship Ministries and head of the YPM unit. “Many times the challenge of moving from idea to action is financial.”
A total of $65,000 has been allocated for grants to support racial justice projects, including $50,000 from the Connectional Table and $5,000 each from Discipleship Ministries, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR).
“This will provide seed money of up to $2,500 per proposal to make the ideas of young people become a reality,” Ratliff said.
The grants will be available beginning in September, and information about the application process will be on YPM’s website (www.umcyoungpeople.org) soon, Ratliff said.
Last summer, young black leaders and white allies from each U.S. jurisdiction in The United Methodist Church met in Dallas to share their own experiences about racism and to develop a common list of print, online, organizational and people resources related to racial justice.
“That event could have ended with a list of to-dos for the staff of Young People’s Ministries,” Ratliff said. “Instead, it transitioned into a movement with momentum to go forward as a group committed to a new way of being God’s people with each other and in our world.”
The racial justice grant program will provide a way for young disciples, who are already a part of the church, to share the boundless love of Christ with young people outside the church, Ratliff said.
“Whether young people have been hurt by the church or have never attended, it is vital for our faith communities to create a welcoming place where they can experience accepting and loving relationships that transcend racial barriers,” he said.
The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support the annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.UMCdiscipleship.org, the Press Center at www.UMCdiscipleship.org/about/press-center or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.