Women’s Division Votes Katrina Relief, Training at Mission Sites
Women's Division votes Katrina relief, special grants
by YVETTE MOORE*
Katrina relief, training opportunities for staff and directors of mission institutions, and special grants topped Women's Division directors' actions to aid national ministries when they met April 20-23 in Stamford, Conn.,
Directors allocated $10,000 of United Methodist Women's Repairers of the Breach funds to Wesley House Community Center in Meridian, Miss., for relief services for evacuees of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Meridian and the surrounding area are home to 5,600 evacuees. Many of the evacuees returned to the area to find they could not afford to rebuild so are living in their cars. The community center's Christian Relief Program offers a free health clinic, clothing, food, rent, utility assistance, bus tickets and job-search support.
In another Katrina-related action, directors terminated the lease and national mission-institution status of St. Mark's Community Center in New Orleans, La., and approved a new lease on that facility to North Rampart Community Center and gave it national mission-institution status. The action was taken after numerous failed attempts to reconstitute St. Mark's board of directors to deal with outstanding debts. Board members are scattered across the country in the wake of Katrina. The action allows mission to continue at the center, which sits at the edge of New Orleans' French Quarter.
Women's Division directors also approved a training initiative for national mission institutions through the General Board of Global Ministries' Sharing Partners Action Network (SPAN) program. The training will focus on financial forecasting and cash-flow budgeting for smaller institutions, training in human resources and creating policy manuals, and a networking meeting for executive directors of SPAN member institutions. Division directors approved training in online donations and planned giving for non-SPAN member mission institutions.
Since 2001, SPAN has worked to strengthen national mission institutions by fostering a sense of partnership and shared vision among the more than 103 institutions that receive support from United Methodist Women's Mission Giving, with larger agencies sharing knowledge on fund-raising and management with smaller ones.
Directors approved $60,000 in grants to programs for ministries with women, children and families. Programs receiving grants include:
• New Beginnings Women's Residence, New Beginning Ministry of Brevard, Inc. Indialantic, Fla., $20,000. This program provides a structured, supportive residential environment for women coming out of prison.
• "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me," Red Bird Mission, Beverly, Ky., $10,000. This summer youth program will serve more than 45 children ages 7-15 in southeastern Kentucky.
• Parenting Support and Education in Action, South Side Settlement House, Columbus, Ohio, $10,000. This program includes women's retreats and family camping to help at-risk families develop good relationships with improved parenting skills.
• Changing the Belief System of Women Victims of Domestic Violence, Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center, East Prairie, Mo., $20,000. This program helps women who have recently left abusive relationship sovercome the challenge of changing their understanding of their self-worth through education.