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Mini-grants reimagine faith formation

Mini-grants helped churches like Brighton First

The Discipleship Grant Team of The Michigan Conference has given 100 mini-grants to congregations to assist their families in at-home faith formation.

KATHY PITTENGER
Coordinator of Children’s Initiatives, Michigan Conference

Mini-grants funded Lenten Bags
St. Charles UMC’s porch-dropped a package to homes once a month. This is their Holy Week Kit. ~ photo courtesy St. Charles UMC

In the late spring of 2020, the Discipleship Grant Team of the Michigan Conference met to discuss the possibility of offering small grants to local churches and UM-related organizations to support creative and re-imagined faith formation for all ages.

In 2020, 49 churches received a total of $12,250 in grants. Churches used the grants for at-home VBS, at-home faith formation boxes, Advent in a Box, digital curriculum, and more.

As the pandemic has continued to impact local churches and in-person ministry, the Discipleship Grant Team offered another round of mini-grants in the winter of 2021. Nearly $15,000 in grant money was given to 51 churches in the first three months of 2021, with a majority being used for resources for faith at home – including Lent in a Box.

The grants were made possible from the Christian Education Sunday special offering received from Michigan United Methodist churches. While the winter 2021 mini-grants opportunity has ended, the grant team is in the process of discerning how we can continue to equip and empower creative and imaginative faith formation.

Learn more about Christian Education and Discipleship Grants here: https://michiganumc.org/grantscesunday/.

Detroit Central church school kits funded by mini-grants
Detroit Central UMC used the mini-grant to create and deliver Sunday School packages for the elementary children to be used during their Zoom Sunday School each week. ~ photo courtesy Detroit Central UMC

The Discipleship Grant Team asked churches that received a grant to summarize how the money was used and how it impacted their church community. Here are a few of the stories:

  • First UMC of Holland shared that they did a Valentine’s party by Zoom and sent valentines to those who are homebound or isolated due to the pandemic. They also provided Lent in a Box for their families.
  • St. Charles UMC “porch-dropped” packages for families each month, including “snowman soup,” Valentine’s gifts, Lent at-home kits, and Holy Week Kits.
  • Adrian First UMC combined the Lent in a Box with their Lent worship aids and offered the boxes to everyone in their congregation and distributed over 70 boxes!
  • First UMC – Brighton and Whitmore Lake also distributed “Lent in a Bag” and “Holy Week in a Box” to their families.
  • Detroit: Central UMC used the grant to create and deliver Sunday School packages for the elementary children to be used during their Zoom Sunday School each week.
  • Vassar United Methodist Church shared a video of how the mini-grant enabled the distribution of in-home packages that corresponded with the virtual weekly children’s message …  

For additional information about children’s ministry or faith formation, contact Kathy Pittenger.