IGRC Task Force, seminaries, conferences benefit from Racial Justice grants


WASHINGTON, D.C.  --  The IGRC Task Force on Cross-Racial and Cross-Cultural Task Force has been awarded an $8,000 Racial Justice grant by the General Commission on Religion and Race, the agency announced Oct. 18.

In all, 13 recipients received awards totaling more than $300,000 for “bold and innovative programs promoting diversity within the denomination.”

Seven conferences, five United Methodist seminaries, and a jurisdictional organization received the CORR Action Fund (CAF) awards (funded by the Minority Group Self-Determination Fund) for projects ranging from developing intentional multicultural community, forming immersion programs, leading book study, creating cultural competency training for clergy and lay leadership, and for one seminary the complete redesign of the school's theological program.

The $8,000 award to the IGRC Task Force will be used to partially fund a project, which will include the collection of history and narratives of CR/CC appointments in IGRC and its predecessor Annual Conferences; leadership training and development of training modules for pastors and lay persons. The task force was formed by Bishop Gregory V. Palmer following the 2010 Annual Conference, in which Palmer identified diversity through cross-racial and cross-cultural appointments as a major initiative.

“This grant affirms the work that we have been doing and gives a tangible boost toward accomplishing our goals,” Palmer said. “This is an excellent illustration of partnering between a denominational agency and an annual conference to help us be a more diverse and culturally competent church.”

The latest awards were in two categories:

  • The Racial Justice Grant for Clergy Leadership, of up to $20,000 for clergy and programs within districts and annual conferences that support efforts to dismantle racism by promoting the values of diversity, inclusiveness, multiculturalism and cross-racial/cross-cultural work; and
  • The Racial Justice Grant for UM Seminaries of up to $80,000 for efforts by faculty, staff or students to improve racial, ethnic and cultural intergroup relationships and/or bringing about organizational, institutional and system changes in the church, seminary, and in society.

Announcement of the grant recipients came at GCORR's fall Board meeting, held in Detroit, Mich., Oct. 5-8. Bishop Minerva Carcaño, chair of the GCORR CORR Action Fund committee, said the four-month review process of more than 100 applicants underscored the importance churches across the country place on advocating for inclusivity at all levels of the church.

"We have annual conferences that are gathering all of their clergy and insisting that they become aware of their own personal racism,and aware of the institutional racism that they're dealing with so that they are ready for cross-cultural, cross-racial appointments," said Bishop Carcaño. "And this isn't simply in order to plug appointment holes. This represents acknowledgement of the critical need for cross-cultural and cross-racial awareness, competency, in the life of the church."

The General Commission on Religion & Race (GCORR)is one of six general commissions of The United Methodist Church charged with addressing specific, focused areas of concern. GCORR was established in 1968 to challenge and help the denomination's agencies, institutions, annual (regional) conferences and congregations to achieve full, equal participation of its racial and ethnic constituencies in the total life and mission of the church. GCORR strives to accomplish this task through education and advocacy and by reviewing, monitoring and supporting The United Methodist Church's efforts to ensure racial inclusiveness and foster racial justice and reconciliation.