Mustard Seed Grants from UMCOR continue an 80-year tradition of Welcoming the Stranger. Five UM churches in Michigan received these funds.
July 6, 2021 | ATLANTA – Churches in Michigan will be able to help refugees and migrants living in their local communities thanks to new grants from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The “Mustard Seed Migration Grants” awarded to five United Methodist churches in the state continue the agency’s 80-year tradition of helping refugees, immigrants, and migrants seeking to build new lives.
The Mustard Seed Migration Grants, inspired by the well-known parable about growth, provide the selected churches with up to $2,000 to support one-time, community-based service projects. As a result, these churches will now assist refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented persons, and migrants of all types in their own cities and towns.
“Michigan United Methodists are people with large hearts formed by the love of God in Jesus,” said Bishop David Bard, the presiding bishop of the Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church. “They care deeply about persons and their needs and desire to make a difference in the world.”
Local United Methodist churches in Michigan receiving the grants are:
- Dearborn First UMC will help the growing number of refugees and migrants in Dearborn by creating a Response Team Initiative that sets up a network of resources to assist people on their journey to self-sufficiency.
- First UMC of Warren will create the International Friendship Center with space for immigrants to learn how to sew and earn income for their families by connecting sewers with boutiques and businesses.
- Troy Big Beaver UMC will fund the Furnishings for our Neighbors program that provides essential home furnishings for refugees and asylees settling into their first homes.
- Lansing Mount Hope UMC will enable Hope Cares, a new ministry providing help with employment searches, food assistance, English as a Second Language (ESL) education, and home furnishings.
- French UMC in Detroit will enable church members to develop friendships with asylees and refugees by supporting African Meals for New Immigrants, a once-a-month dinner of traditional African foods offered to those residing at the temporary Freedom House shelter in Detroit.
“I am delighted that the Board of Global Ministries through UMCOR is offering grants to five Michigan congregations seeking to reach out to immigrant communities in such wonderfully caring and creative ways. The support given by UMCOR will help these churches do this important work, and I am grateful for such support,” Bishop Bard concluded.
“As Jesus described in his parable, small mustard seeds have the potential to grow into something pervasive that spreads throughout a field,” said Roland Fernandes, general secretary of United Methodist Global Ministries and UMCOR. “Our hope is that, by learning more about migrants in local communities and addressing their needs through these Mustard Seed Migration Grants, the ‘seed’ of welcoming strangers will be planted in new ways in congregations around the country.”
“Mustard Seed Migration Grants provide an opportunity for local churches to learn more about and have a greater impact on ministry with refugees, immigrants, and migrants,” said the Rev. Jack Amick, director of global migration for UMCOR. “UMCOR, and those who contribute to it every year, are excited to support these churches caring for the most vulnerable in their midst.”