The Missional Engagement Ministry of the Florida Conference is currently seeking applications for Health Ministry Grants from local churches. Applications are due June 1.
At last year’s Annual Conference, the Florida Conference was awarded $49,500 by the Florida Blue Foundation for the purpose of making small seed grants to local churches developing or expanding health ministries.
The Florida Blue Foundation (The Foundation) is a separate philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield Company. Its mission is to help people and communities achieve better health, and it has found a faith partner in the Florida Conference. The conference Health Ministry Grants committee is considering the best way to distribute funds.
Local churches whose congregations are trying to minister to their neighborhoods by developing health ministries should apply for the grants, which are available on a one-time basis.
The Foundation has four area districts in the Florida Conference. Each of them will be awarded $9,900 in grants according to the Foundation's design with the Conference defining what gets funded, Director of Missional Engagement Clarke Campbell-Evans explained. There can be multiple grants in each district.
“The committee is given latitude in dispersing the remaining $9,900 of the overall grant to the best projects,” Campbell-Evans said. Those will be fully decided by the grant committee.
“One example of a common need that has surfaced time and again is that in many congregations, people are suffering from the strains of Alzheimer’s disease,” Campbell-Evans said. “Not only are patients affected, but the impact on their families is dramatic.” A congregation might want to sponsor support groups and provide respite care training, which could help ease the stress on families, and a grant could help with such a ministry, he said.
Another area that might benefit from grant seed money is the field of faith community nursing, once known as parish nursing. Grants could help support a local church’s parish nurse, who would volunteer to be available on the staff to develop health screenings in the community and discern other ways to assist a congregation and its neighborhood.
“We are looking at the grants from the point of view of local churches and where they need resourcing. We ask ourselves, “how are we going to reach people who live in our neighborhoods, and how we can equip and encourage them (these churches) to do health ministries,” Campbell-Evans said.
The Health Ministry Grants committee is comprised of a professor of nursing at Florida Atlantic University, a faith community nurse at a local church, a representative of the Florida Blue Foundation, a district lay leader, the director of the Alzheimer’s Project in Tallahassee and Campbell-Evans. They will consider the applications.
“Ideally, these ministries are just getting off the ground, though existing ministries which are developing new phases will also be considered. The grants—between $250 and $10,000—are meant to complement the resources that local church themselves are investing. Since the funds are non-recurring, applications should demonstrate how they plan to continue their investments of funding in the second year and beyond,” said Campbell-Evans.
The application asks detailed questions on projected outcomes desired for specific ministries, as well as comprehensive listings of the congregation’s investment of time and volunteers to make the ministry happen.
“Grants will be awarded based on the quality of the ministry, the capacity of the church to deliver and how that balances with the scope envisioned,” Campbell-Evans said. Applications are available online and are due by June 1. One of the best ways to connect with God’s mission in the world is to have your church support one of our UMC missionaries.
Go to http://www.flumc.org/healthministries for more information and the application.