The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) as part of their strategy to enable and resource leadership within the church has selected the 2017 Young Clergy Initiative (YCI) grant recipients. This year, applications were received from every United Methodist jurisdictional conference, and of those applications, 34 grants were awarded. Award amounts vary based on project scope, and some grants are awarded funds over the period of several years for ongoing projects.
Of the 34 grants, five of them were awarded to organizations within the Western North Carolina Conference or to clergy affiliated with the conference.
YCI was established at the 2012 General Conference as a $7 million fund designed to “increase the number of young clergy among the jurisdictional conferences.” The initiative was developed for a three-quadrennia period (12 years), and is reassessed every four years at General Conference. In the first quadrennia, 78 grants were supported using the allotted funds. The amount disbursed in that period totaled about $5.5 million, since the funds available are dependent on giving to the World Service Apportionment Fund. The 2016 General Conference designated an additional $7 million to be used for grants in the current quadrennium (2017-2020). The YCI fund is administered by GBHEM.
Below is a list of this year’s grant recipients related to the WNCC and the project director:
- Experience United Methodist Seminaries, Brad Farrington, ASU Wesley Foundation
- Explore Summer Ministry Internship, Rev. Annalee Allen, Western North Carolina Conference
- Discerning, Designing, and Deploying 21st Century Collegiate Ministry Values and Practices, Rimes McElveen, Mere Christianity Forum at Furman Univeristy
- Discernment Circles, Kathryn A. McElveen, Leadership Coach in South Carolina
- The College and Church Internship Program, Robert Brewer, Greensboro College
Here are descriptions from the project directors:
“The YCI grant for the Appalachian Wesley Foundation is for us to take groups of college students from our campus ministry who are discerning a call to ministry and have them do campus tours at seminaries. Primarily, we are doing two tours a year, one each semester, at the four UMC / Wesleyan seminaries that are within driving distance: Duke, Candler, Wesley, and Asbury. Our hope is to help college students clarify their call to ministry and help them have a smooth transition from college to seminary if they feel God calling them that direction.” –Brad Farrington
“The YCI grant awarded to the Office Ministerial Services of the WNCC of the UMC will support our Explore Summer Internship, which exists to help young adults (18-25 years old) discern their call to vocational ministry. The internship provides an environment for exploring their gifts and giving the intern opportunities to explore particular aspects of ministry and/or program development in a safe and encouraging environment. Interns are matched for 10 weeks with ordained clergy mentors who offer opportunities for interns to experience the full breadth of pastoral ministry; to dream, vision, and implement — to learn by doing as well as by observing and discussing and reflecting on theological foundations.” -Annalee Allen
“Discernment Circles will support and equip young adults, college-aged through mid-20s, to discern callings from God alongside peers and mentors who can affirm and encourage them to courageously pursue those callings. Using the Circle of Trust® approach developed by the Center for Courage & Renewal, we will create, pilot and refine a curriculum for campus minsters and congregational leaders who work with young adults to provide a container for discernment while also teaching essential spiritual and community formation processes that support a life of discipleship. We will also increase the capacity of campus ministers and congregational leaders who work with young adults to nurture cultures of call in their ministry organizations.” -Kathryn McElveen
“The YCI grant awarded to Mere Christianity Forum at Furman University was provided to support a multi-year process to “Discern, Design, Develop, and Deploy 21st Century Collegiate Ministry Values and Practices.” There will be particular attention given to encouraging collegiate ministries in their commitment to fostering young adult vocational exploration and nurturing a sense of calling to ministry.” -Rimes McElveen
“The Greensboro College “Church and College Internship program” will provide students the opportunity to experience working in a vibrant and trusted ministry setting in Greensboro. Students will work at least two hours a week in a church ministry, meet monthly with the college chaplain, and attend a vocational discernment retreat each year. Through this program, students will reflect upon their call to ministry as a lay leader, elder, or deacon. Students can participate for up to two years and receive a stipend and assistance in attending a vocational conference.” -Robert Brewer
For the 2017-2020 quadrennium, grant applications are accepted annually from January to March. Awards are distributed in June, and each recipient will submit three progress reports per year throughout the duration of their project (August, December and April). Both long- and short-range projects are required to submit three reports per year.
GBHEM is working to track and collect analytics on all grants awarded. It takes at least seven years for a young person to go through the process to become ordained clergy, which means analytics for these types of grants can only be collected over the course of many years. The first YCI awards were granted in 2014.
For the 2017-2020 quadrennium, grant applications are accepted annually from January to March. Awards are distributed in June, and each recipient will submit three progress reports per year throughout the duration of their project (August, December and April). Both long- and short-range projects are required to submit three reports per year. GBHEM is working to track and collect analytics on all grants awarded. It takes at least seven years for a young person to go through the process to become ordained clergy, which means analytics for these types of grants can only be collected over the course of many years. The first YCI awards were granted in 2014. To learn more about YCI, visit ExploreCalling.org/YCI. More information about GBHEM can be found at GBHEM.org.