November 13, 2020
The Global Council of the Wesleyan Covenant Association recently celebrated the approval of ministry grants totaling $180,150. The grants were disbursed from its Central Conference Ministry Fund to support twelve ministries in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Zimbabwe.
The Central Conference Ministry Fund was established by the WCA in the aftermath of the 2019 special General Conference when some U.S. annual conferences and local churches withdrew support for some ministries in the central conferences due to disagreements over the General Conference’s adoption of the Traditional Plan reaffirming the UM Church’s historic teachings on marriage, ordination, and sexual ethics.
Seeded by an initial $100,000 WCA grant, the fund has attracted an additional $285,837 in gifts from WCA members and friends to date. The most recent grants have funded a wide variety of projects:
East Africa Episcopal Area – Ethiopia Evangelism & Church Growth Project — $25,000
The Gambella Church has grown from 100 members in 2018 to 1,200 members in 2020 in part because of outreach to displaced persons who have settled in the community. Its existing facility is inadequate to meet the needs of this growing church community. The grant will enable the church to begin work on an important expansion of its facility to offer ministries for children, youth, and adults in the surrounding community. The expansion will have a seating capacity for 1,800 persons and allow the church to provide services to HIV/AIDS victims, street children, orphans, prostitutes, and other disadvantaged people in the community.
East Africa Episcopal Area – Sagania (Kenya) Vocational and Training Center — $18,400
This grant will enable the construction of a vocational training center to provide courses in horticulture, animal husbandry, beekeeping, environmental management, cutting hair, and general homecare management as a vehicle for reaching youth who have dropped out of school and are unemployed while sharing the Gospel with them.
East Congo Episcopal Area – Micro-Entrepreneurship Program for Youth in the Kitumaini Church — $12,000
This local church project will address a growing problem of youth who have left school and families, and who then engage in conduct which is adversely impacting the community. Through a center established by the Kitumaini Church, these youth receive training and supervision so they can become contributing members of the community and be reconciled to their families. Youth have received training in a variety of trades such as carpentry, masonry, animal husbandry, and tailoring; however, because of unemployment, many of the youth are unable to use the skills they have learned. The grant will enable the church to offer micro-entrepreneurship opportunities as a path to employment for these young people. The goal is to combat poverty and significantly reduce juvenile delinquency in the community.
East Africa Episcopal Area – Savings and Credit Cooperation Society of Kenya — $25,000
The Savings and Credit Cooperation Society of Kenya promotes a savings culture and provides affordable credit and sustainable financial solutions to its members and stakeholders. The grant will permit this ministry to expand its outreach to improve financial literacy across eight United Methodist districts in Kenya and facilitate microfinancing leading to increased financial security and stewardship for individuals and the churches they attend.
East Angola Episcopal Area — Namibia Evangelism Project — $7,900
The grant will enable the purchase of equipment to be used by teams to evangelize communities with a special focus on reaching youth as well as to provide transportation for teams.
East Angola Episcopal Area — Namibia Retired Clergy Project — $15, 800
The project provides needed support for retired clergy, widows, and orphans of clergy to meet humanitarian and educational needs.
East Congo Episcopal Area – Construction of Church in Lunga — $5,250
The existing church in Lunga is antiquated and unable to be updated. This grant will enable the construction of a modern building enabling greater evangelism to the surrounding community.
East Congo Episcopal Area – Local Pastors Support — $10,700
Local pastors have encountered obstacles to receiving training because of war and disease. The grant funds will enable a three-month training program to be conducted for pastors in advance of the annual conference meeting equipping local pastors for evangelism, proclamation of the word, and disciple-making.
East Congo Episcopal Area – Polyvalent Center for Methodist Women in Kindu — $25,000
The center is located in rugged terrain at some distance from the nearest water source. A previous grant of $14,600 enabled a sixty-meter well to be drilled, casing to be installed, and an electric pump to be purchased and installed. The funding in this grant will enable purchase and installation of a tank for storage of water.
Nigeria Episcopal Area – Banyam Theological Seminary Water and Sanitation Project — $10,000
The Banyam Theological Seminary is the primary seminary where clergy are trained in the Nigeria Episcopal Area. The seminary and the surrounding community lack clean drinking water. The grant will provide funds for the drilling of a borehole and installation of a water system to meet the need for clean water.
Philippines — Baquio Episcopal Area– Dallao Deep Well Project — $10,000
The grant provides the necessary funding for the establishment of a sufficient source of potable water through a deep well to benefit 72 families being reached through the United Methodist Church in Dallao, a very impoverished community. The grant and resulting deep well will facilitate even greater evangelistic outreach in the community.
Zimbabwe Episcopal Area – Gatsi Borehole Project — $15,100
This pre-existing borehole failed leaving the community with no source of clean drinking water. Consultants have determined why the borehole collapsed and have recommended construction which will return the borehole to working condition. The grant will pay for the remedial work as well as installation of a solar powered pump alleviating the frequent electricity shortages in the region increasing the capacity of the borehole.
Together with funds disbursed previously, the WCA has now distributed $385,837 to benefit ministries in the Central Conferences impacting ministries in Africa, Asia, and Eurasia. Keith Boyette, president of the WCA, said, “Through the generosity of WCA members and friends, churches and communities that were facing significant needs are able to complete long-delayed projects so that Jesus will be honored and lifted up through their ministries.”
With these grant awards, the Central Conference Ministry Fund has achieved its stated purpose of funding projects which were adversely impacted in the aftermath of the 2019 special General Conference. The WCA Global Council has therefore discontinued the fund having fully disbursed the balance of monies raised. The council is exceedingly grateful for all those who went above and beyond the WCA’s stated mission in order to assist brothers and sisters complete critical projects for their churches and communities.
The WCA Global Council recently established the Next Methodism Fund that will receive charitable contributions to support the work necessary for the launch and initial operations of a new conservative, global Methodist church. More information about the Next Methodism Fund will be released early in 2021, but gifts to the fund can be made now by giving either through the WCA website or through the WCA App available at the App Store for your smartphone, and designating your gift for the Next Methodism Fund. The WCA Council has dedicated $300,000 to seed the Next Methodism Fund so it can support the critical work of launching and sustaining the new church in its transitional phase. Much of the work to be accomplished will benefit Methodists globally, including those previously served by the Central Conference Ministry Fund.