Jacksonville churches receive Igniting Ministry grants to purchase signs

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Jacksonville churches receive Igniting Ministry grants to purchase signs

Feb. 15, 2007  News media contact: Tita Parham*
tparham@flumc.org  Orlando {0625}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

Two churches in high profile areas will be able to reach thousands of people thanks to matching grants from Igniting Ministry.

Tallahassee Heights United Methodist Church in Tallahassee is one of a number of Florida Conference churches utilizing electronic signs to create greater awareness of church ministries. Photo courtesy of Tallahassee Heights United Methodist Church. Photo #07-0522. Web photo only.

Glynlea Grace United Methodist Church received nearly $12,500 and Ortega United Methodist Church received $13,000 to purchase LED, or electronic, signs to be displayed on church property. LED signs allow 24-hour advertising and easy access to change messages on a daily or even hourly basis.

Linda Franco, a member of Glynlea Grace United Methodist Church, said an average of 40,000 cars pass the church each day since it is located on Jacksonville’s busy Atlantic Boulevard. She said she and her husband have to manually change the message on the church’s current signage on a regular basis. With an LED sign changes are done electronically.

Franco said she applied for the grant because she knew it would be a great outreach tool for the church. She said the church is looking forward to a modern sign that is highly visible from the road.

“There is a company in town and they have unique thoughts on their sign, and people really look forward to driving by and seeing what they have up,” said Franco, who has been a member of the church since 1983. “We are looking forward to having neat sayings on our sign, as well as advertising programs at the church, the time, the temperature, and we’re real excited about it.”

Joan Risley, a member of Ortega United Methodist Church, is equally excited about the grant that will allow his church to have a higher profile with the 50,000 cars that pass the church on U.S. 17 each day. She said the current sign is not visible from the road.

“We take up almost a city block, but many people who look for the church can’t find it or they think we’re the church next door,” said Risley, who has been a member of the church for 17 years. “The sign we have now is a low stone one, and people can’t see the name when they’re driving by the church.”

Risley said the church will use its LED sign to advertise many church programs. It would have been optimal, she said, to have had the sign two years ago when an African children’s choir performed at the church.

“We couldn’t communicate it to the city,” Risley said. “And not only that, who knows who we weren’t reaching? That’s why we’re excited about the sign.”

Both churches are in the process of trying to arrange to have the signs up and operating by the start of Lent.

Franco said it’s hard to find the words to describe what the sign means to the church.

“Igniting Ministry is such a blessing to The United Methodist Church,” she said. “I can hardly wait for us to get the sign.”

Risley said the grant will also greatly impact her church. “We don’t have a decent sign and now Igniting Ministry has changed that.”

A memorial gift left to the church will cover the matching amount the church must pay in order to receive the grant, Risley said. Franco said her church will host a fund-raising event to cover its matching funds.

Any local United Methodist church, cluster of churches, group or conference is eligible to apply for the matching grants, awarded for three specific times per year: Lent, the two weeks leading to Easter; back-to-school, the month of September; and Advent, generally three weeks leading to Christmas. There is no restriction on how often churches can apply, and a maximum of $50,000 can be awarded. The maximum covers one or a combination of television, broadcast or cable, radio, outdoor, or cinema.
The campaign is intended to reach unchurched neighbors during calculated seasons of the year. The matching grants partnerships allow churches to create greater visibility and deliver their messages more frequently to people in their communities. 

Igniting Ministry will match dollar for dollar half of the recipient's total media cost. Award levels may be higher if dictated by the market size, such as being in one of the top 10 media markets.

More information is available by contacting the Media Grants and Services office at 877-281-6535 or IMMediaServices@umcom.org.


This article relates to Igniting Ministry.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

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