Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi has launched a grant program to help small membership churches start innovative programs to involve people in camping and retreat ministries.
Fifteen grants of $1,000 each will be awarded to congregations who submit the most creative ideas to involve church and community members in camping or retreat programs that address the Conference's five areas of focus. Applications are due Feb. 15, and grants will be awarded in the Spring/Summer of 2018.
"Because small-membership churches are vital to the mission and ministry of our Conference, I invite your church and others with an average worship attendance of 50 or less to apply for one of our new Camping and Retreat Ministry Initiative grants," the Bishop said in a December invitation to small membership church pastors. In the invitation, she added:
"A task force of representatives from our Camping and Retreat Ministry Board and our grant funding partners will work with me to determine which churches receive the grants. Creative proposals with a high-level of hands-on church member involvement that address more than one area of focus will receive priority.
We’ll be looking for something more creative than using the grant to fund camperships, which some of you do already. For example, a church trying to start a new ministry with mothers caring for children with special needs might seek a grant to send those mothers on a retreat to launch the ministry. Another idea might be to apply for a grant to bring someone to your church to train a potential dean and/or volunteer camp counselors to help lead a week of camp at one of our facilities for an underserved population.
Please pray about what your community needs are and what you might do to help meet those needs through a camping or retreat-related program. Think of those who might never have an opportunity to connect with Christ through a camping or retreat experience.
Donations from the United Methodist Foundation and the Keystone UM Federal Credit Union help to fund the grants.
To apply for a grant, use this form.
For more information on the grants, contact Jessica Gamache, our Camping and Retreat Ministries Coordinator, at Jessica.Gamache@wpaumc.org or 724-776-2300, ext. 231