LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. – Directors of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) awarded $291,583 in Ethnic Local Church and Human Relations Day grants at its fall meeting here.

The Ethnic Local Church Grants program is to strengthen congregations through education, advocacy or leadership development for social justice engagement. Grants are awarded twice each year. The fall cycle awarded $277,893 to 14 programs.

Human Relations Day is one of The United Methodist Church’s six Special Sundays with offerings. Human Relations Day strengthens United Methodist outreach to communities, encouraging social justice and work with at-risk youths.

GBCS distributes 10 percent of Human Relations Day receipts for youth-offender ministries. The General Board of Global Ministries distributes the remainder for its United Methodist Voluntary Services and Youth Rehabilitation programs.

This fall, GBCS awarded $13,690 to a program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The $277,893 in Ethnic Local Church grants was split among 14 programs in three U.S. jurisdictions and Central Conferences in Africa and the Philippines. Five annual conferences in the United States  – Southwest Texas and Rio Grande, Alabama-West Florida, Florida, North Carolina, and Northern Illinois – received grants. The remainder has been allocated to ethnic minority programs and Social Principles education in Central Conferences.

Grants go to a wide variety of ministries, including immigrant justice work in Texas, criminal justice reform in Florida, youth ministry in the Philippines and a Native American Organizing Initiative.

Two of the grants are for interagency programs involving GBCS and the General Boards of Discipleship and Global Ministries.

More information and applications for grants are available on the General Board of Church & Society’s website at More information can also be obtained by contacting the Rev. Neal Christie, GBCS assistant general secretary, Education & Leadership Development, at 202-488-5611.

More information about United Methodist Special Sunday offerings can be found at

Grants are awarded twice each year.