The Well United Methodist Church in Ponchatoula and Christ UMC in Shreveport are the Spring 2015 recipients of the Louisiana Conference Peace with Justice Awards. The two grants, totaling $4,000, are funded through the Peace with Justice Sunday offering taken in Louisiana’s United Methodist congregations.
This year’s Peace with Justice Sunday is May 31, but may be celebrated on any date of a congregation’s choosing. This is one of six designated celebration Sundays with offerings of the General Church.
Christ UMC, pastored by Rev. Tom Howe, will sponsor Jessica Lowe as an Individual Volunteer in Mission for 11 months in Israel. A grant of $2,000 will provide travel support for Lowe (pictured above) who will be trained and sent by the General Board of Global Ministries. She will work directly with Rev. Kristen Brown in the Methodist Liason Office in Jerusalem, advocating in support of international and ecumenical peace with justice, especially on behalf of the Palestinian people.
For its project, The Well UMC is partnering with other area congregations to feed international students at The Wesley Foundation on Southeastern Louisiana University’s campus beginning in July 2015. The grant will provide start-up funds for the weekly feeding program, serving about 150 individuals each meal. The goal of the program is not only to bridge the food gap for international students, but also to educate local students through relationships formed with students from other countries who might also be facing financial challenges. A possible 26 countries could be represented by participating students.
Rosalie Young, chair of the project for The Well, wrote about the importance of economic justice in outlining the program's mission statement. Rev. Matt Rawle, pastor, is providing overall vision for the project and believes that the program will assist with improved academic performance, career success and the formation of international relationships.
One of the goals of this international PWJ project is to explore the complexities of the Middle East Conflict and share that information with Louisiana congregations. As stated in the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church 2013-2016, “ God’s world is one world. . . . The enforced unity of humanity, increasingly evident on all levels of life, presents the Church as well as all people with problems that will not wait for answer: injustice, war, exploitation, privilege, population, international ecological crisis, proliferation of arsenals of nuclear weapons, development of transnational business organizations that operate beyond the effective control of any governmental structure, and the increase of tyranny in all its forms. This generation must find viable answers to these and related questions if humanity is to continue on this earth.” (paragraph ¶165).
The next deadline for Peace with Justice grant applications will be sometime in the Fall of 2015. For additional information, e-mail the coordinator Rev. Dr. Patricia T. Bates at email@example.com
The General Board of Church and Society, which guides the work of the Conference Board of Church and Society, hosts regular training meetings for all conference coordinators and provides peace with justice training materials for interested congregations.