Young Adults in Oklahoma and the Philippines Receive Grants for Racial Justice Projects

NASHVILLE, Tenn. November 2, 2017 /Discipleship Ministries/ – The first round of grants to help United Methodist young people with a passion for racial justice initiate projects that can impact their church, community and world have been awarded to groups in Oklahoma and the Philippines.

The grant program, administered by Young People’s Ministries (YPM), a unit of Discipleship Ministries, awarded a grant of $2,500 to four communities of students and young adults in Oklahoma – two primarily Caucasian and two primarily black – who seek to discern how they can partner together and work toward racial reconciliation and a grant of $2,482 to support a camping experience for youth in the Philippines to be in intentional fellowship with leaders from indigenous communities.

“Proactive ministry can infiltrate the crevices of racism and expand the possibility of reconciliation without waiting for the next crisis response"
- Rev. Mike Ratliff

“These grants demonstrate the potential to make a difference for the primary audiences addressed by the programs they fund,” said Michael Ratliff, Associate General Secretary at Discipleship Ministries and head of the YPM unit. “Through the sharing of the work that makes these programs possible, they also have the potential to resource similar programs across our denomination.”

“Proactive ministry can infiltrate the crevices of racism and expand the possibility of reconciliation without waiting for the next crisis response,” Ratliff said.

Under the program, seed money up to $2,500 per project is available to support efforts that can be leveraged by others to inspire and resource young people across the church. A total of $65,000 has been allocated for grants to support the racial justice projects, including $50,000 from the Connectional Table and $5,000 each from Discipleship Ministries, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and General Commission on Religion and Race.

The grant recipient from Oklahoma, OKC DiRECtion, is composed of students and young adults from Edmond First United Methodist Church and the Wesley Center at the University of Central Oklahoma, both in Edmond, and Quayle UMC in Oklahoma City and Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma’s only historically black university.

Participants from the four organizations will gather around a meal with predetermined questions meant to guide discussions on racial experiences. They will work to build trust and become more educated in critical race theory and will hear personal stories of how race in America has affected those in the group. Together they will travel to The Center in Baltimore for a week-long immersion experience, with the end goal being to discern a way they can partner together to continue the work of racial reconciliation.

In the Philippines, the ECSA Camp will be organized by the Ecumenical and Church Society Affairs (ECSA) Department of the National United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines. The camp aims to take youths outside the walls of the church to reach the least, the lost and the last. The five-day experience will strive to work toward peace and unity by bringing together brothers and sisters in Christ to look past their social circumstances and develop community.

The grants are set up on a rolling, monthly basis. Monthly review and distribution by the Project Review Committee will continue until the funding is exhausted. To apply for a grant, go to

Members of the Project Review Committee are:

  • Charlie Ludden, Associate Director of Project Transformation and Young Adult Mission and Service at the Oklahoma Annual Conference
  • Derrick Scott III, Executive Director of Campus to City Wesley Foundation at University of North Florida in Jacksonville and a Division on Ministries with Young People (DMYP) representative
  • Jani Djamba, a young adult DMYP representative from Germany and student at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
  • Junie Nkonge, Missions Resourcing Coordinator at Discipleship Resources International, a ministry of the Discipleship Ministries

The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit, the Press Center at or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.

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