The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Local Initiatives Grants. Bishop Sally Dyck, Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops said the grants are used to deepen ecumenical and/or interreligious relationships across the United Methodist Connection through local ministries.
This year the bishops specifically looked for creative ways to witness to unity while at the same time keeping in mind the necessity of social distancing.
One of the three recipients this year is the Tennessee Conference’s Committee on Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships.
Their project is a two-phase approach to teaching the bishops’ new ecumenical curriculum to United Methodists, Episcopalians and other Christians in their area. The group will first go through the curriculum with their already-existing partnership with the Episcopal Church (They have most recently been studying together “A Gift to the World,” the full communion proposal).
Then, they will branch out to at least five, new, ecumenical small groups and teach the curriculum again, creating additional ecumenical small groups as they go.
The Tennessee Conference Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships team is very excited to continue our work of building a network of local groups who are interested in building relationships with faith communities of all kinds in their geographical areas.” said committee chair, Rev. Nick Baird-Chrisohon.
“This grant will help us train faith community connectors in the history and values of ecumenism and offer networking with other connectors in the conference. Trainings will be Zoom-based for the foreseeable future, but we hope to add in-person gatherings and mixers when the opportunity presents itself. We are truly grateful for this opportunity by the Council of Bishops!”