Application period for Ware Grants opens Sept. 24Conference News Missions and Outreach
The leadership team at Branches United Methodist Church knew something was missing. Rev. Tony Baurichter said their meetings had become too predictable.
Team members agreed they needed help from outside their immediate circle, but paying for a consultant who could suggest something different would be cost-prohibitive. However, that was before the church applied for a grant from the Rev. H. Melton and Adelaide S. Ware Trust.
The grant was approved, and the team hired a Spiritual Leadership coach.
That helped the team grow spiritually, develop leadership and team-building. It was just what the members needed.
"Prior to this experience, our church leadership meetings usually consisted of a short devotion, a short prayer, and several hours of discussing and debating strategies to reach our community. We invited the Holy Spirit to be a part of the discussion, but we did not spend much time dedicated to listening to the Holy Spirit, nor did we spend much time dedicated to spiritual formation," he wrote in a follow-up letter to the grant team.
As a result of the Spiritual Leadership process, we have now changed the schedule of our meetings. Instead of rushing through an opening devotion and prayer, we now spend a long time — sometimes 2-3 hours — in worship, prayer, and spiritual formation. We share how we are doing spiritually; we hold each other accountable; we commit to engaging in spiritual disciplines to grow in Christlikeness."
This is just one example of how the Ware grant can help churches support existing ministries or start new ones. The application period opens Friday, September 24, and runs through the close of business on October 22.
Recipients must follow up with a letter to the Ware committee by April 22, 2022, explaining how they used the gift and its impact.
The funds for such initiatives originate from the trust founded by Rev. H. Melton and Adelaide S. Ware. The grant helped underwrite the cost of the prayer chapel at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park and is intended to opportunities for spiritual formation within the Conference.
Ministries applying for a grant from the Ware Foundation should seek to embody the Wares' sacrificial spirit and generous hearts.
The trust has helped fund many vital initiatives in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Last year, 17 grants were awarded for a total of more than $19,000.
Here are just a few examples.
Pasadena Community Church in St. Petersburg used the money to pay for Zoom and Amplify Media subscriptions to conduct online bible studies.
"As well, we purchased several rounds of books for those bible studies," Finance and Administration Manager Jackie Taylor said. "We are very grateful to have received these funds."
Wesley UMC on Marco Island used the money to upgrade technology.
"This came at a time when we were struggling with getting our online presence up and running. We used the grant, along with raising our own funds, to purchase a Mac notebook that cost $2,500. It has greatly increased our capabilities for video and streaming capabilities, along with presenting a more professional-looking website," Rev. Dr. Bill Fisackerly, IV said.
"The Mac has allowed us to run multiple streams at one time, multi-tasking between the video stream, Zoom meetings, projecting information on a local screen, and interacting with persons who log onto the experience. It has been especially effective at The Table, an online Christian community that meets bi-monthly to provide a safe place for people to explore questions about their faith."
Rev. Loida Divine, Co-Pastor at Lake Deaton UMC, said the $1,250 grant enabled her church to launch a weekly support ministry for people with memory loss due to dementia, Parkinson's, stroke, Alzheimer's, or similar issues.
"Every Monday, this group begins with a short devotional and a focus on scripture. Some of our group members can recall scripture they have memorized in the past," she said.
"Part of the schedule includes a half-hour of music, and we are amazed how music affects those afflicted with memory concerns. Music relaxes them, encourages them, and helps them by becoming involved. Sometimes we sing hymns, and participants recall words they have memorized."
There's a little preparation work to complete before going online to apply.
Applicants must come from recognized churches or ministries in the Conference. Be prepared to submit the name(s) and contact information of the officers or leadership for the ministry and accounting procedures.
Be careful filling out the form. Applications may be disqualified for missing information.
The individual grant participants should be willing to serve in the ministry requesting the grant.
Applicants will be notified about the decision on their application by November. Funds will be received no later than December 31.
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