Apply Now for Theological Education Grants
The commission that oversees use of the $5 million fund plans to disburse grants totaling about $1 million a year.
The Rev. Rena Yocom, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s assistant general secretary for Clergy Formation and Theological Education, said the center for Christianity is moving to the Southern hemisphere for the first time in 2000 years.
“My hope and my prayer is this – that we understand that the Central Conference Theological Education Fund is more than banking or distributing dollars. We are called to shape future leaders out of our Wesleyan tradition who care about holiness of heart and holiness of life,” Yocom said.
About $500,000 a year will be distributed based on the number of episcopal areas in a conference. However, these grants are not guaranteed and will go to the best proposals. Regional screening committees will recommend which proposals receive funding.
Applicants can ask for grants in the categories approved by General Conference, which are:
· Development of theological schools
· Development of Courses of Study
· Development of libraries and contextually developed resources
· Scholarships and faculty development
· Support for associations and networks of faculty and schools
· Support for new and innovative approaches to theological education.
The commission agreed that 25 percent of the funds (about $250,000 a year) would be distributed based on the number of churches and active clergy. The remaining $250,000 a year will be available for proposals that go beyond a conference.
While General Conference approved the fund at $5 million, the money comes from the World Service Apportionment. That fund is expected to pay out at 85 percent, which would mean the actual dollars would be reduced to $4.2 million, or about $1 million a year for each year of the 2013-2016 quadrennium.
Priority will be given to those projects that build the capacity of an institution or ministry in an episcopal area, contextual resource development, innovative initiatives, and proposals that move toward sustainable theological education. Proposals will be accepted from theological institutions, Boards of Ordained Ministry, and organizations that are integrally related to United Methodism and theological education.
Any recipient of a grant will be required to give an update six months after the issuance of the funds. An annual report will be required and must include a demonstration of progress made toward achieving the aims of the original application, highlights with stories and photos, and information about difficulties and challenges. The commission also requires a report on what local or other funding is being used for the project, as well as projections for sustaining the project in the future.
The application deadline for grant requests is Jan. 30, 2014. The screening and approval process will take place in February, and funds will be distributed in March.
Brown is associate editor and writer, Office of Interpretation, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.