As United Methodists return to in-person ministry, the Pacific Northwest Conference (and as of August 4, the Alaska Conference!) are offering Hybrid Worship Grants to directly support local churches continuing online practices in worship and gathering. Up to $100,000 has been approved for the program with priority access given to churches worshipping under 75 members (using 2019 statistics).
Alaska and Pacific Northwest Conference churches may apply for a one-time grant between $500-1,000, depending on their technology upgrade plans and appropriate needs. They have until September 1 to apply, as long as funding remains.
The grant project recognizes that many local churches have, or are planning to, purchase equipment, software and/or subscriptions to support hybrid worship and other ministry opportunities. These investments will allow them to include members and constituents for whom in-person worship and study is not an option. They will also allow churches to continue online ministry connections with others who are geographically distant, have work schedules that conflict with in-person worship times, and those who prefer a digital option for connection.
“Over the past months, we have been in conversations with dozens of churches planning upgrades to their equipment to make this Both/And leap,” said Rev. David Valera, executive director of connectional ministries. “These grants will not pay for all that is needed in many places, but we also know these funds will make a difference, especially in communities will less economic means.”
Up to $100k has been allocated to this project, part of funding redirected in 2021 to support local churches and to offer financial support to those most vulnerable to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Grant applications will be reviewed and approved by staff in the Office of Connectional Ministries and the Regional Media Center, with follow up consultation as warranted.
“The grant project recognizes the temptation as congregations return to in-person worship to leave behind completely the digital spaces they have been inhabiting,” said Patrick Scriven, director of communication. “As applications are reviewed, we expect to get a better sense of how churches are adapting and where future resourcing opportunities may lie.”
Applicants with questions about the process may direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org before they apply.