WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has awarded $41,400 to 15 Peace with Justice ministries around the world. The grants are in conjunction with the denomination’s Peace with Justice Sunday, which witnesses to God's demand for a faithful, just, disarmed and secure world.
Peace with Justice Sunday, May 31, this year, is one of the six United Methodist Special Sundays with offering. Established by the 1988 General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body, Peace with Justice Sunday supports programs that advocate peace and justice at home and around the world.
Half of the Special Sunday offering is retained in annual conferences to fund local Peace with Justice programs. Half is remitted to GBCS to help fund U.S. and global work in social action, public-policy education and advocacy.
Grant awards were determined by GBCS’s Board of Directors during its spring meeting.
Recipients comprise 15 projects: one each in the Northeastern and South Central jurisdictions, two in North Central, three in Southeastern, and three in the Western. Five projects are in Central Conferences, in Africa, Europe and the Philippines.
Grant recipients are as follows:
- Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe, Brussels, Belgium. $2,000
The Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe is fully run by young people. Its goal is to foster understanding and tolerance among young people, especially focused on the different backgrounds that influence European identity.
- Peace Today — The UMC in Germany & the Challenges of Peace Ethics, Germany Central Conference. $1,400
The Germany Central Conference’s Commission on Peace, Justice & Care for the Creation will organize a seminar that applies the denomination’s Social Principles to current issues. The seminar is to discern how The United Methodist Church must teach and act to strengthen just peace in a conflicted world. A seminar outcome will be an update of the 2005 study document for United Methodist congregations as to how to work with other denominations to serve as peace builders.
- Abuja (Nigeria) United Methodist Church English School. $2,500
The English School is an outreach program of Abuja United Methodist Church with classes offered at the church and in Nasarawa state. Abuja UMC is partnering with the U.S. Embassy and American International School of Abuja who provide co-leaders and volunteer teachers to complement church members.
- Displaced Young Mother’s Ministries Fight for Justice, Spottswood United Methodist Mission, Cotabato, Philippines. $2,500
This project enables young mothers of displaced indigenous families to free themselves and their families from the bondage of poverty, exploitation, hunger and helplessness. Through education and skills training in small-business management, young mothers are empowered against exploitative schemes of traders, landlords and money lenders. The women also are technically and financially assisted in establishing their own livelihood through a cottage industry.
- Southern Philippines Methodist Colleges, Kidapawan, Philippines. $2,500
Southern Philippines Methodist Colleges is the only United Methodist-owned institution of higher education in Mindanao and Visayas. All students will attend Peace Education & Cultures of Mindanao to further the campaign for peace and environmental justice, and inform the greater public about the situation of the tri-peoples in the area.
North Central Jurisdiction
- Justice for Our Neighbors — Southeastern Michigan $2,500
Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) — Southeastern Michigan is a ministry of the Detroit Conference based at Beverly Hills United Methodist Church. JFON provides free or low-cost legal services to persons with immigration issues. The ministry also includes education and advocacy.
- Women at the Well United Methodist Church/Right Next Door, Mitchellville, Iowa. $2,500
Women of the Well United Methodist Church is located within the women’s state correctional facility in Mitchellville, Iowa. An important part of the ministry has been establishing relationships with partners who work to support women inside the prison, and assist in the reentry process when they are released. The grant will help support encouragement, networking and training to further expand this ministry.
- Nakba Museum Project of Memory & Hope, University Park, Md., $5,000
This art- and storytelling-based project is a stepping stone toward a museum in Washington, D.C., that shares the ongoing catastrophe of the Palestinians since 1948. Goal is to deepen the conversations on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to develop a “more balanced view” by relating the experiences of people who had homes, but were forced to become refugees.
The museum will be a space that simply tells the human story, with all its paradoxes and pathos, according to Bshara Nassar, founder and executive director who was awarded a scholarship two years ago from the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries that enabled getting a master in Conflict Transformation at Eastern Mennonite University.
South Central Jurisdiction
- Redemptive Work, Austin, Texas, Southwest Texas Conference. $3,000
Housed inside Parker Lane United Methodist Church, Redemptive Work focuses on “traditionally unemployable” people through advocacy and transitional employment that teaches job-search skills and workplace culture. “Traditionally unemployable” is defined as persons who through physical or mental illness, incarceration or period of homelessness have become ineffective at finding full-time, full-benefit employment at a living wage.
- Daybreak in Alabama: How People of Faith Can Change Public Policy, Huntsville. $5,000
“Daybreak in Alabama” is a series of study guides and videos that provide groups of 10-30 people an opportunity to discuss how people of faith can help alleviate suffering, promote racial and religious harmony, and become advocates for Peace with Justice. The guides are a project of the Interfaith Mission Service, a cooperative founded in 1969 owned and operated by 34-member congregations including most mainline Christian congregations, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Unitarian Universalist and Unity. Trinity United Methodist Church is coordinating congregation for “Daybreak in Alabama.”
- South Florida Justice for Our Neighbors, Miami. $2,500
South Florida Justice for Our Neighbors was officially opened July 1, 2014, as a ministry of the South East District, the Florida Conference, and as an official partner of the National Justice for Our Neighbors Network. The grant will support expenses for young-adult missionaries to travel across South Florida to assist church volunteers, and under the supervision of an attorney provide support in preparing immigration applications. The missionaries will also educate long-term residents and recent arrivals as to the needs that exist, and participate in advocacy on behalf of the immigrant communities.
- National Farm Worker Ministry Youth & Young Adults Network, Raleigh, N.C. $2,500
National Farm Worker Ministry is a faith-based organization. The Youth & Young Adults Network was created to support a nationwide coalition of young people supporting farm worker-led efforts for self-determination to improve living and working conditions. The network building a self-sustaining national structure by developing organizing and leadership skills for justice activism.
- Fossil Free UMC, Seattle, Wash. $2,500
Fossil Free UMC is a collaborative project between the Pacific Northwest Conference; Caretakers of God’s Creation, a ministry of the General Board of Global Ministries; and GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental organization. In 2014, the Pacific Northwest Conference voted overwhelmingly to study fossil-fuel divestment. In response, the conference is providing staff time for curriculum development and outreach. Caretakers and GreenFaith are providing additional funding for outreach and strategy development beyond the Pacific Northwest.
- Mat-Su Valley Congregation Based Community Organizing Project, Wasilla, Alaska. $5,000
The Mat-Su Valley Congregation Based Community Organizing project was created by eight congregations, including three United Methodist, to organize, empower and mobilize local faith communities to address quality of life issues affecting their community. The mission is to work from the faith principles and values of the members, apply them to community issues, and take democratic action to impact existing social structures for the common good of all citizens, particularly the poor and disenfranchised.
- United Methodist Kairos Response, Alameda, Calif. $5,000
United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) is an international, grassroots movement mobilizing response to the call from Palestinian Christians for effective action that will help end the Israeli occupation, and achieve a just, lasting peace for all the people of Israel and Palestine. UMKR addresses root causes of widespread poverty throughout the Palestinian territory and among refugees in neighboring countries, the continued, expanding Israeli occupation, and denial of fundamental rights to Palestinians.
To qualify for a Peace with Justice grant, applicants must work toward achieving at least one of the following objectives:
- Assist United Methodists in understanding and responding to violence and militarism;
- Involve United Methodists in efforts to end conflicts and violent aggression around the world;
- Promote just national and international policies and actions, governmental and non-governmental, seeking to restore communities and respond to the disproportionate effect of injustices on racial and ethnic persons; and
- Support policies that promote systematic economic justice and the self-development of peoples.
For more information, including application procedures, visit Peace with Justice Grants on the GBCS website. You can also contact the Rev. Neal Christie (firstname.lastname@example.org), GBCS assistant general secretary for Education & Leadership Formation, (202) 488-5645.
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.
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