The Collins Foundation grant supports leadership and inclusion
The connection with The United Methodist Church and The Collins Foundation goes back to the 1950s. That’s when the foundation began providing grants for ministry and programs in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. Bishop Grant Hagiya has recently received word that the 2015 grant proposal (for the 2016 budget year) has been accepted and funded.
Building on foundational work from previous years, the 2016 grant will focus on developing strong clergy and lay leadership. Focuses will include spiritual formation, training in coaching skills, support for experienced ministers in small churches, emerging Hispanic ministries, and stewardship development.
The conference’s Vital Church Project will receive $31,000 to support Hispanic ministries in Washington County and the ongoing consultation and training program for local congregations seeking to build health and vitality.
Over $10,000 will support coaching. Coaches will be provided for churches with new pastors and two workshops will be held to teach coaching skills to clergy and lay leaders in the conference.
New this year is a special grant of $46,500 to support efforts that promote full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people in The United Methodist Church.
The Collins Foundation has grown increasingly concerned about the exclusion of LGBTQ people from the life of the church and made funds available this year to encourage change. Bishop Grant Hagiya, and the Ministry Leadership Team of the conference chose to embrace this opportunity. Because the General Conference of The United Methodist Church is being held in Portland, Oregon this year (May 10-20), it seemed a critical time to marshal these funds and the energy of conference members for this critical justice work.
The grant will be used to fund five key programs:
- Scholarships for leaders working with the Love Your Neighbor Coalition at the 2016 General Conference,
- Funding for Love Your Neighbor Coalition representatives to attend Pre-General Conference Briefings in the African Central Conferences,
- Support for a Love Your Neighbor Coalition Welcome Center and Strategy room at the 2016 General Conference,
- Funding for three regional orientations on reconciling and welcoming ministries for local churches seeking to support full inclusion in The United Methodist Church, and
- Funding for national training and communication following General Conference.
“The Love Your Neighbor Coalition is thrilled to be collaborating with the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference through the generosity of The Collins Foundation,” says Reverend Steve Clunn, Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) Coordinator. “As the host Annual Conference for this year’s General Conference in Portland, Oregon this collaboration sends a powerful message to our denomination; that the full inclusion in the life and ministry of the church by ALL United Methodists is at the heart of the future health and wholeness of our denomination!”
“When presented with this opportunity the leadership team was unanimously supportive,” says Bishop Grant Hagiya, presiding bishop of the Greater Northwest Area which includes the Oregon-Idaho Conference. “This type of ministry is totally in sync with the ethos of the vast majority of United Methodists in the Northwest. If we are to make the church relevant to future generations, we must find a resolution to the discrimination in the church toward our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. We totally applaud The Collins Foundation for their integrity in pushing this forward on our behalf.”
Read about past support and how the Collins Family and The Collins Foundation have impacted The United Methodist Church.