United Methodist ministries receive faith-based grants from city

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

United Methodist ministries receive faith-based grants from city

April 2, 2006    News media contact: Tita Parham* 
tparham@flumc.org    Orlando {0467}

An e-Review Feature
By Jenna De Marco**

JACKSONVILLE — Youth attending Camp Amp study the water of Lake Asbury to catch a glimpse of the life teeming there. The camp gives disadvantaged youth the chance to experience camp in a Christian environment. Photo by the Rev. Pam Hall, Photo #06-332.

The Rev. Pam Hall is celebrating the good fortune of several North East District ministries that received faith-based grants to help them carry out their missions. She’s also thankful she was able to help make it happen.

“I have been very moved to show the churches that there is money available beyond the offering plate,” said Hall, who serves full time as executive director of Community Outreach Agency in Jacksonville, an outreach ministry of the North East District and the Florida Conference.

Hall, whose salary comes strictly from apportionments, spends most of her time helping churches “discover, develop and launch outreach ministries in their own communities.”

“Churches will have something on their heart, but they don’t always know how (to pursue it), and I am able to bring some of that information to them,” Hall said.

When the opportunity arose last year for Hall to qualify as a faith-based partner with the city of Jacksonville she pursued the requirements, which included training in nonprofit management, board development, grant writing and forming alliances with other agencies in the area. In that role Hall helps area outreach ministries work through the process of applying for grants from the mayor of Jacksonville’s faith-based initiative, an extension of the White House faith-based initiative.

“Community Outreach Agency was the first to make it through the many steps of being trained and certified, and we brought with us several of our churches (ministries),” Hall said.

Three ministries each received a $20,000 grant from the city, including Camp AMP, a residential summer camp that is a collaborative effort of the North East District’s churches; a feeding ministry offered by Wesconnett United Methodist Church and organized by the Rev. George Dzyndra; and Hart Felt Ministries, a ministry to housebound senior citizens founded and coordinated by Jane Hart, a member of Beach United Methodist Church.

The grant money will enable Camp AMP, which serves as a residential camp for urban and disadvantaged children, to remain open for three weeks instead of two, serving 40 additional children and bringing the total number of children who attend to 120. The camp takes place at Lake Asbury Retreat Center in Green Cove Springs.

“One of the reasons we received a grant is because we are the only agency offering a camp … to these children who are primarily in the economically disadvantaged areas,” Hall said.

The camp serves rising third- through fifth-graders and provides Scripture lessons, worship and music, arts and crafts, such outdoor activities as canoeing and water skiing, and three meals a day. Sixty youth from area churches serve as volunteers for the camp.

JACKSONVILLE — The Rev. George Dzyndra gives a resident a loaf of bread as part of the bread ministry his church, Wesconnett United Methodist Church, provides. Dzyndra organizes the pick-up and delivery of the donated bread items. Photo by the Rev. Pam Hall, Photo #06-333.

Wesconnett United Methodist Church will use its $20,000 grant to pay for truck rental expenses, which are incurred in the pick-up and delivery of bread to families in the city’s urban areas. The feeding ministry currently serves about 170 families each week, reaching more than 600 people. Using a rented truck with an elevator lift, Dzyndra’s ministry gleans donated bread items from various manufacturers. Distribution takes place on Fridays.

“They have the families sign in, and they keep track of the average number of families and how many individuals are served, which is part of their requirements (for the grant),” Hall said.

Hart Felt Ministries will use its grant to cover expenses associated with its outreach to senior citizens who still live alone, but need moderate levels of living assistance, Hall said. Hart Felt volunteers help housebound seniors or residents who have long-term health-care needs do light chores or run errands. The ministry currently serves about 118 clients and has a waiting list of about 90. Hart’s volunteer pool includes 63 people, about half of whom come from Beach and Ponte Vedra United Methodist churches.

Hall said the grant money will be used to cover costs related to the background checks, training and liability insurance Hart coordinates for all of her volunteers, as well as other office expenses. Hart Felt clients, who are screened before receiving assistance, receive their help at no charge.

Hart said she was thrilled to be a part of the city’s pilot program, despite the learning curve for her and members of the municipality.

“It was wonderful to receive (the grant) because it was just such a new thing for everyone, and we’ve all been kind of learning together,” she said.

One thing Hall would like other churches applying for grants to know is that it is a misconception ministries must be quiet about their beliefs.

“You lead with the service to the community — (it’s) how you really state what the objectives of the program are,” Hall said. “Jesus was very clear to us that we are to serve our neighbor.”

The groups will receive continued support from the city as they expand their outreach, Hall said.

This article relates to Outreach Ministries.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**De Marco is a freelance writer based in Viera, Fla.

Contact Us

The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815

(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011