God calls us to be in ministry with children, and every United Methodist church in Minnesota is urged to develop a long-term partnership with a school in its community after assessing the needs that exist. There are children in all Minnesota communities who would benefit from positive role models, tutors, extracurricular activity leaders, food, school supplies, winter clothes, and books.
Between 2015 and 2018, the conference’s Mission Promotion Team has awarded a total of $43,000 in grants to 65 United Methodist churches across the state to help them form relationships with schools in their communities.
In 2019, the conference has a total of $5,000 available for churches to request grants for new initiatives. Applications are due July 31, 2019. Download application form (Microsoft Word) or fill out application online.
There are many possibilities for partnerships that build relationships between the school community and the congregation. A few of them include tutoring or mentoring students; opening up the church to school gatherings; offering parenting, ESL, or literacy classes; praying for teachers and students; and supplying backpacks or clothing.
Questions? Contact Director of Community Engagement, Rev. Lyndy Zabel.
In 2018-2019, St. Paul's UMC in Mendota Heights has been busy with its partner school, Garlough Elementary School in West St. Paul. Some members of the church serve as weekly Reading Buddies; others help fill backpacks with weekend food. The congregation helped provide winter clothing and boots to kids in need. The church gave money to purchase Spanish language books for the library and to help reduce some of the school lunch debt that struggling families have been unable to pay.
Members also helped serve a meal to families at PIE Night (Parents Involved in Education), and the kids often went home with a free book. At the end of the school year, church members served a hot meal to all the staff of Garlough Elementary to thank them for their hard work.
A librarian at the school wrote a note of apprecation. "Your generosity of financial support to our Spanish reading/speaking families for the purchase of Spanish books to add to the library's collection is greatly appreciated. I have purchased highly sought-out books that students frequently request. They will be THRILLED to finally see their requests on the shelves. These books help our students learn to love reading and learning! Thank you!"
In 2018, Nearstrand UMC partnered with Nerstrand Charter School to help update the school's library. The congregation continued to build a close relationship with the school. Church members volunteered in the school library, helped coach extracurricular activites, and donated school supplies. Nearstrand UMC also hosted an annual fundraising event to support students participating in extracurricular activities.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church