Social Justice Endowment Fund 2014 Awards

LUMC Fellowship image 2014One of the most transformative ministries at Lexington United Methodist Church in our Social Justice Endowment Fund.  This year, a committee of four people made decisions about how to spend $13,930 in gifts to the life changing ministry of applicants throughout the world.  Here is a brief description of the groups who received awards:

•    Church Within A Church Movement proposed a campaign for 2015 titled “My God is Not a Bully! 2.0” (MGINB 2.0).  Chapter two includes a broader marketing and promotions plan to include celebrity, sports, political and religious leaders outreach.  Famous people have stories to share as well, which will give the campaign national and international attention.  MGINB 2.0 will allow people to upload their own video stories on the new website.  To make sure all abilities are accommodated there will be a space for text uploads for those who do not have video capabilities, along with sections for comments, feedback and donations.  Now that there is a successful product in place, this expanded tier of promotion and connection will take the theme to the next level, gaining  more visibility which may impact more LGBTQ young people searching for something positive to cling to when their pastor, church or even parent is speaking a message of hate.  Award amount: $2,500.

•    GLBTQ Clergy Candidates Retreat focuses on positively counteracting the harm caused by the prohibition on “self avowed, practicing homosexual” clergy candidates by creating a supportive retreat for GLBTQ candidates in the ordination process.  This retreat is designed to: connect candidates with a set of peers grappling with similar issues; develop strategies for coping with and overcoming discriminatory ordination rules; provide encouragement from out clergy; and expand tools for effectively managing pastoral and personal identities in a homophobic context.  Collaborative presentations, discussions, reflection, meal-sharing, and worship will be he primary activities during the retreat.  The content of this retreat is designed to meet the particular needs of GLBTQ clergy candidates in the UMC.  Years of conversation with such candidates, as well as a needs assessment survey that was distributed in spring 2014, will shape the curriculum of the retreat.  Award amount: $2,480.

•    Volunteers for Peace Mission Trip for the installment of bio-sand filters (12 filters in 3 schools, providing approximately 750 students with clean water while they are in school).  Other activities include painting a local hospital and cultural exchange between the two volunteer workers and Haitians for the two-week time period of the trip.  Funds for the filters and their installation will be raised by the two volunteers by seeking funds utilizing the GoFundMe fundraising tool and perform a concert in May 2015 that will support continuing work in Lavallee region of Haiti.  Grant funds would be used for travel expenses on the trip tentatively scheduled for December 27, 2014 – January 19, 2015.  Award amount: $2,750.

•    “The Vigil” Engagement Campaign is an Outreach and Engagement Campaign using the documentary, “The Vigil” to inspire discussion and collective action for justice for immigrants.  The LUMC 2013 Social Justice Endowment Fund grant made it possible to complete the film by providing funding to license archival footage in the film.  Funds for this grant will be used to hire an outreach coordinator for completion of a discussion guide to accompany the film and screenings in 10 major U.S. cities, with a panel and discussion afterward.  Award amount: $4,200.

•    MFSA, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Love Your Neighbor (LYN) Project continues to expand the LYN coalition that has been built over the past three years by organizing supportive presence at upcoming church trials of clergy who have engaged in acts of marriage equality or who have publicly stated their sexual orientation; Increasing communications capacity to advance LGBTQ inclusive messaging campaigns tailored to each trial; strengthen and expand relationships with current and potential LYN coalition partner organizations within the UMC, and working to end injustices in their experiences of the UMC; and directing the work of the LYN Coalition Legislative Strategy Team.  Award amount: $2,000.