|United Methodist ethnic ministries seek $12.3 million|
General Conference delegation leaders and church journalists
attend a breakfast meeting highlighting programs of the six ethnic
ministries of The United Methodist Church. The gathering was part of the
Pre-General Conference News Briefing.
UMNS photos by Larry Nelson.
By Linda Green*
Feb. 7, 2008 | FORT WORTH, Texas (UMNS)
The six ethnic ministries of The United Methodist Church are
requesting a $12.3 million slice of the denomination's $642 million pie
for the next four years.
Representatives of the plans and initiatives highlighted accomplishments
and outlined plans to expand their ministries during a Jan. 26
breakfast during the church's Pre-General Conference News Briefing.
The $642 million denominational budget proposed to the 2008 General
Conference, the church's top legislative body, represents a 1.2 percent
annual increase, for a total increase of 4.8 percent over four years.
"A synonym for the Great Commission may be the great initiatives," says Bishop Jonathan Keaton of Michigan.
The $12.3 million requested by the Asian American Language Plan, the
Korean American National Plan, the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino
Ministry, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, the
Native American Comprehensive Plan and the Pacific Islander Ministries
would assist in developing new congregations and leadership, partnering
with the poor and creating health initiatives.
"A synonym for the Great Commission may be the great initiatives," said
Michigan Bishop Jonathan Keaton. Jesus' departing commandment to the
disciples as outlined in Matthew 28:19-20 is the same message for The
United Methodist Church today, he said.
Keaton said ethnic constituencies have had to lead the charge in making
their witnesses known to the church's majority communities.
"Do we not know that strengthening and growing our ethnic constituencies
can be a powerful antidote for the evangelistic recidivism that has
dogged our heels for the past 40 years?" asked Keaton, chairman of the
Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Coordinating
The ethnic plans are viable, faith-filled expressions of the Great
Commission, he said, and also raise cultural awareness and assist in the
reduction of stereotypes and prejudices.
The nearly 12-year-old Asian American Language Ministry Plan reaches
out to 10 different Asian American ethnic groups with 15 different
languages. The plan seeks $1.6 million to develop new congregations and
revitalize existing ones, recruit pastoral and lay leadership for
existing realities and develop community ministries and language
resources and materials, according to Judy Chung, executive secretary of
Asian American and Pacific Islander Ministries for the United Methodist
Board of Global Ministries.
In the United States, some 850,000 Pacific Islanders live in 47 states,
not including Hawaii. In the church’s Western jurisdiction alone, there
are 63 Pacific Island ministries, congregations and fellowships.
According to the 2005 racial/ethnic clergy membership summary of the
General Council on Finance and Administration, there are 11,378 lay
members of the Pacific Island community and 113 clergy members.
Monalisa Tuitahi, executive director of the church's Pacific Islander
National Caucus, said $400,000 is needed to conduct a ministry study of
the needs of Pacific Island communities and to develop recommendations
and priorities to meet those needs.
Monalisa Tuitahi talks about the need for a ministry study of the Pacific Island communities.
Immigration ministry and advocacy are among the 2009-2012 goals for the
National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry. The plan is requesting $3.8
million for training and equipping lay and clergy leaders, chartering 75
new churches, forming 500 new faith communities, and helping annual
conferences and local churches develop strategies for Hispanic
ministries. The nearly 16-year-old plan also wants to develop and
implement an alternative model to education for ordained ministry for
A video presentation highlighted the work of Strengthening the Black
Church for the 21st Century. The 12-year-old initiative is asking for $2
million to help revitalize and strengthen African-American churches by
enabling strong congregations to partner with other churches seeking
growth, vitality and transformation.
Strengthening the Black Church also wants to enhance the relationships
of African-American churches with the denomination’s central
conferences––which lie outside of the United States––and congregations
of African decent in Latin America, the Caribbean and North America, as
well as enhance youth and young adult ministries and enter partnerships
to develop new faith communities.
To help The United Methodist Church view Native Americans as partners in
ministry rather than as a mission of the church, the 16-year-old Native
American Comprehensive Plan seeks $1.2 million from General Conference.
The plan's goals for the next four years include assisting annual
conferences in establishing Native American churches, conducting a study
on evangelism in Native America, developing resources and curriculum,
and providing a bureau of speakers and teachers.
The 2000 General Conference created the Korean American National Plan to
strengthen Korean ministries within and outside the church. Focuses on
new church starts, leadership formation and ministries for the next
generation are reasons behind a request for $3.3 million.
"To honor and to know that making disciples and transforming the world
includes red, yellow, black and white … moves even the most cynical
among us to face the future with hope," Keaton said.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Judy Chung––Asian American and Pacific Islanders Ministry
The Rev. Francisco Canas––National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry
Curtis Henderson––Strengthening the Black Church
The Rev. Anita Phillips––Native American Comprehensive Plan
The Rev. Paul Chang––Korean American National Plan
Commentary: A vision for an inclusive church
Clergywomen of color build unity to build influence
Summit brings thunder to African-American churches
2008 General Conference
Pre-General Conference News Briefing
Asian American Language Ministry
Native American Comprehensive Plan
Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century
Korean American National Plan (In Korean Language)
National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry