From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Board approves $10 million for new program initiatives

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 23 Oct 1998 14:48:51

Oct. 23 1998	Contact: Linda Bloom·(212) 870-3803·New York     {618}

STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) - Three new program initiatives, with total
funding of $10 million, were approved by the United Methodist Board of
Global Ministries during its Oct. 19-22 annual meeting.

Over the next five years, the board will allocate roughly $1 million
annually from unrealized capital gains for a new venture called "The
Partnership Fund." It is aimed at new mission opportunities emerging in
Latin America and the Caribbean and in Asia, regions not covered by the
previously approved Millenium Fund.

Priority will be given to innovative programs with mission partners that
show promise of generating ongoing support, both locally and globally.
Major emphases will include leadership development, training in
evangelization and community ministries, and the use of electronic

Last spring, board directors allocated $2.5 million from unrealized
capital gains for a program called "innovative mission volunteers." The
proposal was to develop and implement a program enabling larger numbers
of church members to "experience cross-cultural, global and reciprocal

At this meeting, they specifically approved plans to resource annual
conferences outside the United States to develop their own volunteer
infrastructure; provide leadership for volunteer projects in developing
countries; expand volunteer opportunities for peer groups and
professionals; strengthen the process for using individual volunteers;
involve volunteers in special mission initiatives; and fund additional
program support services.

Directors also called on the board last spring to provide leadership in
agricultural development, helping increase food supplies for local
communities. At this meeting, they approved the proposed "Sustainable
Agricultural Development Initiative" to address the causes of hunger,
malnutrition and poverty "within communities where United Methodists
live, work and witness."

The initiative will begin with a pilot phase that includes further
program development with the people in church communities, projects and
related institutions who are expected to be participants. Directors have
allocated $2.5 million for the program.

Directors approved $1.19 million from the board's Program Development
Fund for various projects. The allocations include $300,000 to assist
with promotion, mission education materials and exchange programs
connected with "Hope for the Children of Africa," a three-year Bishops'
Appeal; $200,000 for "Justice for Our Neighbors," a new board program
responding to the needs of refugees and immigrants; and $140,000 to
strengthen black church development in Arkansas.

Also allocated was $150,000 for the continuing work of the board's
Russia Initiative; $125,000 to help purchase property for the Russia
United Methodist Seminary in Moscow; $175,000  for programming and
publishing needs of Global Praise; $50,000 for a global consultation on
mission evangelism; and another $50,000 for a mission evangelism video
to be shared across the church.

In other business, board directors:

* Committed themselves to buying 354 boxes through their churches and
annual conferences as part of the Health and Relief Unit's Medicine Box
Campaign and raised $1,780 in an offering -- enough to buy five more
* Learned the Millennium Fund Committee had approved $390,000 for
European projects, including $350,000 for pastoral salary support in
Eastern Europe, and $225,000 for a "Holy Boldness Regional Center" for
community development in Baltimore;
* Heard performances and witness by Youth Mission Chorale, a
board-sponsored singing group that had previously toured Russia and the
Baltic countries, and the Korean American Praise Group, a young adult
musical group from Los Angeles.
* Were reminded by Bishop Dan Solomon, board president, that telling the
story of mission and its impact on the world is essential.

United Methodist News Service
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