The Western Pennsylvania Conference will receive a grant from the Young Clergy Initiative of $30,000 over the next two years for Ministry Discernment Internships. If the effort goes well, the Conference may reapply for another two years of funding.
The application process was completed earlier this year, and word came last week after a period of waiting and praying, said the Rev. Susan Moudry, Conference Coordinator of Clergy Excellence, pictured above with Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi.
The Young Clergy Initiative (YCI) was created by the 2012 General Conference in response to research indicating that by “the year 2032, if trends continue, The United Methodist Church will face a shortage of trained ordained elders for appointment to local congregations.” The YCI fund is a 12-year effort and is administered by the General Board of High Education and Ministry (GBHEM).
YCI looks for grant requests that "assist young people to listen for, discern, and respond well to God’s call to ordained ministry.” Moudry said Conference staff is "very pleased that GBHEM and the YCI believed our request would do these things.
"The purpose of Ministry Discernment Internships in Western PA will be to build on strengths and processes already in place in our Conference, such as our Youth Ministry Team and the Called & Sent program" she explained. "The internships will allow a next step in the discernment process as students moves into their college years, and will match young adults with churches looking to partner in the discernment and call process.
"While we have had internships in the past, by and large our college-level internships have faded away over the years in favor of focusing on seminarians," Moudry said. "We believe the college years serve as a crucial connector and that helping students listen, discern and respond through these years to God’s call will increase the number of young clergy we see entering ministry from our Conference.
"We also intend to put into place a method of ongoing follow-up beyond the brief intern experience, so that young people may continue to stay connected to the church as they discern how to respond to God’s call on their life," she added. "We are excited to begin work on this initiative and ask for your prayers as plans begin to be made. We are also very grateful to see such significant funding from the General Church coming directly into Western PA!"
If you are interested in getting involved, or want to know more, please contact Rev. Susan Moudry, Coordinator of Clergy Excellence at Susan.Moudry@wpaumc.org
Read GBHEM Announcement.