Submitted by the Rev. Stephanie Price
Co-Chair of the Conference Church & Society team
Funds from Peace with Justice Sunday are split into two parts: Half goes to the General Board of Church and Society and the other half goes into the Rocky Mountain Conference's Peace with Justice designated fund. Traditionally, this fund has been used as a means to provide grants to faith-based organizations or local churches who are or would like to be developing Justice Ministries. We adjusted the grant application this year to specify an intentional link from the local church to the community or vice versa.
Here is a sample of the grants awarded in 2015 with monies collected from the Peace with Justice Sunday offering:
- $1,500 was granted to Denver Urban Ministries to expand their advocacy efforts in voter and community engagement within the current context of their Urban Education Programming. This grant money allowed for the initial expansion of their existing urban education program. With the money received through the Peace with Justice Grant DenUM has adapted their experiential learning activities to be presented to local congregations in their church buildings, with the aim of raising awareness and understanding of poverty in the Denver Metro area and across the country. Those activities will be followed up by advocacy alerts, which make people aware of opportunities to appear at legislative hearings or contact their elected officials concerning issues that affect those wrestling with poverty in our state. In addition, DenUM was able to expand their effort on voter registration included multiple campaigns aimed at registering eligible volunteers and clients to vote. DenUM's urban education, client services, and advocacy efforts work to create a community in which everyone is welcomed, respected and heard. They continue to help church members develop relationships with the people served so that the in their mission the message of the Gospel is communicated to all; that in the community we seek to create, all should be valued and heard.
- $1,100 was granted to Crossroads Urban Center in Utah to fund their Utah Poverty News Blog. The funding allowed them to create a news website that focused specifically on poverty related issues in various media formats. The goal in the creation of the Utah Poverty News Blog is to build a reliable source of current information from their organization as well as their community partners. In addition to launching the Utah Poverty News blog, funding from the Peace with Justice grant also allowed them to purchase a video camera used to interview various advocates and organizers on issues of hunger and poverty both on a local and statewide level. Thanks to the funds granted to Crossroads Urban Center, members of Utah's faith communities are more informed on local and state poverty issues and are able to learn various paths to become more actively engaged in social justice on a local level.
- The Peace with Justice offering also allows us to provide continued education around justice, advocacy, and organizing to interested and active participants of our Conference. Each year, we send two young clergy to the General Board of Church and Society's Young Clergy Leadership Forum. In addition, we nominate and send two people to Washington, D.C. for Ecumenical Advocacy Days.