Gardens, Grants and Grace
The Young Adult Ministry at Manchester United Methodist Church has worked to switch its mission focus from working “for” persons in need of assistance to working “with” those same persons and communities to build relationships and develop long-term solutions to food insecurity and poverty. Partnering with Kingdom House (the award-winning United Methodist social service agency) and a community garden in the Kingdom House neighborhood in south St. Louis City, the Manchester youth are expanding the garden with the addition of a new chicken coop. The Foundation grant was used for materials to build the coop.
Ministry Grant of $1,000
Under the leadership of Youth Pastor Winter DeGraaf-Hamilton, the Young Adult Ministry is expanding into St. Louis City, working with other youth from across the city, and conducting a small group Bible study using the Urban Forum curriculum at Kingdom House. (That curriculum was developed by Kingdom House with the assistance of another Foundation grant!) Last year, over 1,000 pounds of food were either sold to raise funds for the project or distributed directly through the Kingdom House emergency food pantry.
“We believe this is a risk-taking mission,” states DeGraaf-Hamilton. “This program has come a long way in a little over a year and a half.”
Wesley UMC Jefferson City
Ministry Grant of $3,750“Some of these young, single mothers had never had a fresh green bean before,” explained Wilma Wilcoxson, a member of the Opus Adult Sunday School class at Wesley United Methodist Church in Jefferson City. She is describing how produce from the church’s community garden was shared with the participants in one of the church’s outreach ministries. “We showed them how to prepare them, and they were thrilled.”
That is just one of the many ways the Wesley United Methodist Church in Jefferson City has been able to turn their community garden into community outreach and ministry. The Young Adults group at Wesley grew a “salsa garden.” The tomatoes and peppers were used to cook and can salsa that was then sold as a fundraiser. They learned how to grow, cook, and can, while raising $300 that was donated to the Samaritan Center, a local interfaith social service agency.
The Foundation grant has helped purchase a new tiller and other equipment. “We are excited about our community garden and how well it has been received,” states volunteer David McAllister. “It is a way to bring people of all stripes together.”
The Foundation Ministry Grant program seeks to nurture the seeds of ministry and congregational effectiveness across our state. The next deadline for grant proposals is April 1. The grants are made possible by gifts from individuals who have built, and continue to build, the grant and scholarship endowments at the Foundation. To make a gift, to create a lasting legacy or to apply for a grant, please contact the Foundation or go to www.mumf.org.