The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) awarded nine Ethnic-in-Service Training (EIST) Grants this summer. Offered in sums up to $10,000, EIST grants help United Methodist institutions and their surrounding communities recruit, train and support ethnic persons for leadership roles throughout the church and the world.
This year’s recipients created programs that cater to people of all ages and offer unique opportunities for growth and support.
“We had some outstanding applicants this year. Our grant recipients are doing everything from providing safe after-school spaces for teens to developing support networks for minority clergy,” said Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson, GBHEM assistant general secretary for the Black College Fund and Ethnic Concerns.
The 2019 recipients are spread across the United States and address the needs of multiple minority groups within the church. Learn more about each awardee:
Casa Vida United Methodist Mission – St. John’s United Methodist Church, Winter Haven, FL
This program will benefit the Wahneta neighborhood of Winter Haven, a low-income, rural area with primarily Hispanic residents. Its short-term objective is to provide English language training to Casa Vida Pastor Rodolfo Martinez and his wife Idelys Martinez – both experienced missionaries. They will use the training to effectively communicate with key Casa Vida donors and stakeholders in English and Spanish. This will help Casa Vida continue to grow and offer more spiritual and community services.
Lifelong Learning Through Christian Education Program Retreats – Gammons Theological Seminary, Atlanta, GA
Through a series of retreats at Gammon Theological Seminary, this program will meet the continuing education requirements of clergy and help address the need for self-care. One of the major goals is to offer a chance for spiritual rejuvenation and to combat burnout among clergy – particularly African American clergy.
Mujeres con Proposito y Llamado – North Texas Conference Center for Leadership Development, Plano, TX
Mujeres con Proposito y Llamado (Women with Purpose and Call) strengthens women’s identity as children of God through annual retreats, leadership development and other fellowship events. It also offers regular gathering opportunities for Hispanic women navigating the ordination process.
The “Build Relationships, Heal Communities” Convocation – The National Association of Korean American United Methodist Pastors Serving in Cross Racial Appointments, Naperville, IL
This biennial convocation trains and equips Korean American United Methodist pastors who are serving in cross-cultural and cross-racial appointments. It offers opportunities for spiritual renewal, learning, networking and leadership development.
El Mesias United Methodist Church – Houston, TX
El Mesias has a youth-focused initiative that provides weekly mentoring, meals and development activities to help local Hispanic teens continue their education and pursue a career. This program is designed to keep teenagers off the streets and in school through graduation. Right now, local teens face pressure to join gangs or to drop out of school for short-term labor opportunities.
Spiritual Academy/Circles of Hope – Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, Jackson, TN
This outreach and discipleship ministry provides a safe environment for at-risk and underserved children from preschool through eighth grade. It serves the East Jackson area and offers a desperately needed safe and welcoming environment outside of school. Among other assistance, children who attend receive tutoring, mentoring, spiritual development and a healthy meal to combat food insecurity.
Nueva Esperanza Leadership Development – Nueva Esperanza/Morristown United Methodist Church, Morristown, NJ
This program develops a core group of approximately 20 leaders from the local Hispanic/Latino community and trains them in a 10-hour program that covers various aspects of multiculturalism and intercultural competency. The goal is to better equip this leader group so that they can effectively foster a transformation of cultural acceptance and understanding in Morristown.
Simpson Youth Academy – Simpson College, Indianola, IA
Simpson Youth Academy brings together 20-25 high school students from local churches on the Simpson College campus and offers education and spiritual formation for them over a nine-month span. The academy supports and mentors youth as they explore connections between their faith and important justice issues, especially those related to race, class, gender, religious equality and care of the environment.
Expanding Northeast Florida College Ministry to a Historically Black College – Campus to City Wesley Foundation, Jacksonville, FL
The Northeast Florida College Ministry currently serves more than 200 students on the campuses of the University of North Florida, Jacksonville University and Flagler College. This funding will allow the ministry to expand services to students at Edwards Waters College, a historically black college (HBCU) and Florida’s first institution established for the education of African Americans.
In order to be considered for an EIST Grant, applicants must provide evidence that those from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds have been involved in the planning, leadership and development of each project. The grants are considered one-time seed money, although recipients may make additional requests for follow-up funding if appropriate. Learn more.
About GBHEM: The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.