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Did You Know – Program ministry grants have launched

Posted: August 17 2018 at 10:24 AM
Author: Rev. Arlene Christopherson, Asst. to the Bishop and Dir. of Connectional Ministries


For years the Northern Illinois Conference has had a tradition of encouraging local churches to dream beyond their current ministries by offering small grants for new and creative experiments. With the transition to the Annual Conference Shepherding Team in 2017, we have been realigning the Program Ministries of the conference to address today’s realities. This fall we are excited to launch a newly organized granting structure to help our congregations experiment with ministries that are risk-taking and adventurous.  

The three newly designed grants are: Social Reform, Congregational Redevelopment, and Creative Ministries. A small portion of the program budget has been allocated to these grants and is offered to churches who are dreaming of new ways to engage the community, give witness to the transformation of society, and experiment with new ways of being the church.

To make these opportunities accessible to the local church, a single application process and coordinated deadline has been designed and is available online at the conference website at www.umcnic.org/congregationalgrants. Grants will also be awarded following a uniform time frame.

The Social Reform Grant coordinated by the Conference Board on Church and Society aims to provide financial empowerment to churches in the conference that have a passion and propose a plan for how to address a specific social justice-related issue. These funds can be used for both domestic and international social justice work and must address root causes of injustice while extending God’s grace and mercy to all people. Primary consideration will be given to applicants that build partnerships between different ministries.

The Congregational Redevelopment Grant coordinated by the Development and Redevelopment Committee of the Conference aims to encourage congregations to deepen their effectiveness in ministry. Grants will support projects that seek to increase engagement with faith or the church, help the congregation rediscover its unique call to mission in the community, and/or reimagine congregational life for greater fruitfulness in ministry. Projects may focus on specific areas of congregational life or mission, but should ultimately contribute to a larger vision of revitalizing the church’s mission and ministry. Grant priority will be given to churches that have done goal-setting and have participated in conference training for redevelopment.  

Finally, the Creative Ministries Grant coordinated by Program Ministry members of the Conference Shepherding Team aims to encourage creative, collaborative ministry programs throughout the NIC. Grants will support new, risk-taking initiatives that seek to impact your community and fulfill the mission of the church for the transformation of the world. This grant may be used for projects whose success is not necessarily guaranteed so that you are free to explore new ways for your community to learn and be transformed in mission and ministry.

More information about these grants and the grant application can be found on the conference website at www.umcnic.org/congregationalgrants. The first round of applications is due by October 15, 2018, and will be awarded in November. Churches are encouraged to choose one of the three areas to apply in.

Remember, several additional grant options are offered to Northern Illinois Conference churches through the NIC United Methodist Foundation, Keagy Town and Rural Ministries, and the Conference Committee on Accessibility. For a snapshot of all these grants click on the FAQ that is provided on the conference website.  

We are excited about the work of partnering with the local church in this project. If you have questions about these opportunities please be sure to contact me at achristo@umcnic.org.  

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