The Council of Bishops Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships will award three Local Initiative Grants to groups within United Methodist annual conferences who lead special projects with the goal of strengthening ecumenical and/or interreligious relationships. Such projects may include building ecumenical or interreligious networks on a local level among specific groups, for example young adults, and online through social media.

Each grant is awarded in the amount of $1,000, and the deadline to apply is September 16, 2016. Recipients will be chosen and awarded the first half of the grant amount ($500) by November 18, 2016. The remaining amount will be sent once a final summary report of efforts is submitted.

Preference for Local Initiative Grants will be given to groups elected to lead in Christian unity and interreligious relationships. Past recipients include the Interfaith Mission Service, First United Methodist Church of Dallas, Southern Philippines Methodist Colleges Incorporated and Detroit Annual Conference CUIR with projects ranging from ecumenical racial reconciliation, interfaith worship exchanges, ecumenical curricula and certificate program in ecumenism.

“The Local Initiatives Grants are designed to fulfill the Council of Bishops focus on developing ecumenical and interreligious ministry within annual conferences.” said Rev. Jean Hawxhurst, Associate Ecumenical Staff Officer of Leadership Development. “These grants offer a unique opportunity for local conference groups actively leading ecumenical or interreligious programs to expand their efforts.”

Groups who are creating ecumenical and interreligious ministries in their local contexts are urged to apply. For more information and to download the 2017 Local Initiative Grant application, visit: http://www.ocuir.org/local_initiatives_grants/