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. This is a church and school partnership in which needs are identified and fulfilled for both the students and congregation. Children in Minnesota communities will benefit from positive role models, tutors, extracurricular activity leaders, food, school supplies, winter clothes, and books.
This partnership is a relationship, not a transaction. We encourage you to do activities with your local school, not for the school.
Over the years of this grant, the Conference has distributed thousands of dollars to nearly 70 different schools across Minnesota. In 2021, the Conference has $5,000 available to churches for new projects.
Our teachers, administrators, and parents have made many challenging learning adaptations during this difficult year. Write them a note and let them know how much they are appreciated! Then collaborate with your congregation and your school contacts to create a new project for next school year!
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.
In 2021, Brooklyn UMC used their $500 grant to fund the purchase of books for students at Garden City Elementary in Brooklyn Center. Library Media Specialist, Elizabeth Johnson, was able to buy an abundance of books that represent the diverse student body. In addition, Rachel Woods from Brooklyn UMC partnered with the school by participating in Read Around Garden City in March 2021, reading books to students via Zoom due to pandemic restrictions.
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.
Questions? Have a success story to share? Contact Rev. Lyndy Zabel.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church