Young Clergy Initiative awards total of seventy- five grants

Nicole Burdakin

Young Clergy Initiative awards total of seventy- five grants   | GBHEM

Over two rounds, 164 Young Clergy Initiative grant applications were received. Forty-six grants were awarded in the second round, bringing the total amount awarded to approximately $5.5 million. Twenty-nine grants were awarded earlier this year. Recipients of second round Young Clergy Initiative grants were notified on Friday, Aug. 8. The grants were awarded to programs geared toward increasing the number of young clergy in The United Methodist Church and supporting the young clergy already serving in the denomination.

The time between the submission deadline for the second round and the notification of awards was much shorter than in the first round. This change came as a response to applicant concerns.

“We heard back from a lot of applicants that their projects were time sensitive… because [projects] played into the school year or something around their annual conference calendar, so we tried to speed up our conversation around the applications so that we could get the money to them quicker and get their projects going,” said the Rev. Trip Lowery, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s director of Young Adult Ministry Discernment and Enlistment, at the GBHEM Board of Directors meeting, Aug. 6-8 in Nashville.

Lowery and Ianther Mills, Vice President of GBHEM and chair of the Division of Ordained Ministry, delivered the YCI report to the board on Friday.

Grants ranged in size from $100,000 to $5,000, Lowery said. While there is a primary recipient for each grant, all of the applicants formed partnerships with churches, annual conferences, other institutions or individuals to work on the projects.

Kim Ingram, a member of the YCI Selection Committee, said of the diversity among applicants, “We got grant requests from a number of different kinds of sources—local churches, districts, campus ministries, conferences, non-profits, seminaries, United Methodist [related] colleges, foundations, and camps.”

Young Clergy Initiative awards total of seventy- five grants   | GBHEM

“There were also some exciting partnerships that were going to happen as a result [of the YCI grants awarded,] through campus ministries and United Methodist [related] colleges, between churches and campus ministries, between seminaries and conferences, [and] between a seminary and a college,” Ingram said. “We’re excited about people working together.”

As a result of reading through applications, the board is working to partner people from different parts of the country who are trying to do similar things so that they will be in conversation with one another.

The goal of the grant program is to support good ideas from all levels of the church about how to prepare young people to hear God’s call to ordained ministry, assist young people in responding to God’s call to ordained ministry, develop young people in spiritual and theological formation, and nurture young clergy for lifelong transformational ministry.

“Simulating innovation and creativity is difficult,” Mills said of the selection process. “We really need to look at and balance the benefits and challenges of an approach that is grassroots. This [approach] was more grassroots in that the call went out as a general call versus a more targeted effort.”

Some of the projects approved included:

  • $50,000 to the Rocky Mountain Conference for an Academy for Clergy Young in Ministry which uses online community learning to help develop young clergy leadership.
  • $100,000 to Claflin University for a year-long ministry-discerning program for 50 rising high school juniors and seniors from SC and the Southeast.
  • $100,000 to Gammon Theological Seminary recruit, equip, and train young African American and Ethnic clergy leaders through Gammon Pathways Program.
  • $35,000 to Wisconsin to develop a conference for young women to discern a call to ministry and equip women of all ages to encourage other young women into ministry.

General Conference 2012 created the $7 million fund to address the need for young clergy in the UMC. While $7 million was approved, the amount disbursed was about $5.5 million, since the actual funds are dependent on payments to the World Service apportionment fund.

See the full list of grants, or learn more about the Young Clergy Initiative on

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

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