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United Methodist churches receive grants for television ads

6/26/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn

A state-by-state list of grant recipients is attached

By Nancye Willis*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church has awarded matching grants totaling more than $500,000 to 68 regional church bodies to help purchase television commercials during the back-to-school and Christmas seasons.

The awards are part of the denomination's national advertising campaign developed and coordinated by United Methodist Communications' Igniting Ministry office. The theme is "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors."

This round includes awards to 37 individual congregations, 12 clusters of congregations and 19 annual (regional) conferences across the United States, in media markets that reach 60 million people.

The grants, matched dollar-for-dollar by the recipients, make available more than $1 million to help purchase local television advertising to supplement the national campaign.

"Our matching grants enable local congregations to share messages of hope, comfort and inspiration in their communities," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top executive at UMCom.

"Since 2001, when we began airing United Methodist messages on television, we have heard many amazing stories of how the ads touch hearts and cause people to connect with our churches," Hollon said.

The denomination, through UMCom, has to date distributed approximately $3 million in matching grants for local TV advertising, and has used $10 million to place ads on 17 cable television channels. Agency officials state that more than 92 million people have seen the denomination's messages.

Igniting Ministry ads air during the weeks before Easter, back-to-school in August and September, and the time immediately before and after Christmas. The three seasons were chosen because they represent the times people are most receptive to spiritual messages, according to UMCom officials.

The campaign's success in raising awareness and helping to increase worship attendance in the United States has compelled UMCom officials to propose significantly expanding the program beginning in 2005.

The plan, aimed at reaching more unchurched people more often, includes additional U.S. airings, along with youth and global components. Nearly 1.5 million United Methodists live outside the United States.

The Rev. Steve Horswill-Johnston, a staff executive at UMCom, leads the Igniting Ministry effort. Jackie Vaughan is director of the Igniting Ministry matching grants program.

Matching grant application dates for Lent 2004 are Nov. 1-Dec. 2. More information about Igniting Ministry grants is available from the matching grants office, by calling toll-free (877) 281-6535; sending an e-mail to or visiting the Web site at
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*Willis is editor of the Public Information Team at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn.

2003 Igniting Ministry Matching Grant Recipients
(Unless otherwise indicated, church bodies listed here received grants for both the back-to school and Christmas airings.)

Dothan District

Alaska Missionary Conference, Anchorage
St. John United Methodist Church, Anchorage

First United Methodist Church, Harrison (Christmas)

Davis United Methodist Church, Davis (back-to-school)
First United Methodist Church, Watsonville

Griswold-Sprague United Methodist Church, Baltic (Christmas)
Windham County United Methodist churches, North Grosvenordale

Tampa Bay United Methodist churches, Brandon (back-to-school)
First United Methodist Church, Nokomis

Cascade United Methodist Church, Atlanta
Thomasville District, Bainbridge

Collegiate United Methodist Wesley Foundation, Ames (Christmas)
St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Cedar Rapids (Christmas)
Iowa Annual Conference, Des Moines (back-to-school)

Northern Illinois Annual Conference, Chicago (back-to-school)
First United Methodist Church, O'Fallon (Christmas)
Melrose Chapel United Methodist Church, Quincy
Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference, Springfield (back-to-school)

North Indiana Annual Conference, Avon (back-to-school)
South Indiana Annual Conference, Indianapolis (back-to-school)

Kansas West Annual Conference, Wichita

Kentucky Annual Conference, Crestwood (back-to-school)

Asbury United Methodist Church, LaFayette (back-to-school)

Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, Columbia

West Side United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor (back-to-school)

Mississippi Annual Conference, Jackson (back-to-school)

North Carolina
Providence United Methodist Church, Charlotte (Christmas)

New Jersey
Trinity United Methodist Church, Spotswood

New York
Western New York Annual Conference, West Amherst (Christmas)

Lima District, Cridersville (Christmas)
Westwood United Methodist Church, Cincinnati
Dayton South District (back-to-school)
First United Methodist Church cluster, Franklin
First United Methodist Church, Mansfield (back-to-school)

Oklahoma Annual Conference, Oklahoma City
Paul's Valley United Methodist Church, Paul's Valley

First United Methodist Church, Murrysville
First United Methodist Church, New Castle
Green Lane United Methodist Church, Philadelphia

South Carolina
South Carolina Annual Conference, Columbia

Memphis Annual Conference, Jackson (back-to-school)

St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Lubbock
First United Methodist Church cluster, Pampa

Northern Virginia Districts, Annandale (back-to-school)

West Virginia
West Virginia Annual Conference, Charleston (back-to-school)

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