Bethany Fellows is offering seed grants to help congregations served by current or alumni Fellows (Ecumenical and Disciple) build the Beloved Community. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned the Beloved Community as a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one's fellow human beings. The Beloved Community also describes a society in which all are embraced and none discriminated against. Former Congressman John Lewis wrote in an essay published on the day of his memorial service, “each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.” Bethany Fellows' goal is to support congregations in taking the next step forward in building the Beloved Community: engaging the self, the faith community and the wider community in an effort that seeks to understand historical contexts and systems that contribute to racism and inequality, while “praying with our feet” in active response. Our hope through these grants is to encourage faith communities to be actively engaged in (and imperfectly wrestling with) the work of healing long-held trauma around race, moving from “race to culture, and then to community,” that is grounded in the Bethany Way of prayer, vulnerability, creativity and community.
Current Bethany Fellows or Bethany Fellows Alumni may apply for a seed grant of up to $1,000 toward this goal. Project ideas may include (but are not limited to) the purchase of resources/books, honorariums, conversations with a coach/spiritual director, _________. Grant money will be awarded directly to the congregation. Bethany Fellows is prepared to offer the names of possible conversation partners to help guide discernment around starting places for self/faith/community engagement. The congregation will be responsible for the contract, agreement, and pay of any outside coaches or speakers. Bethany Fellows will invite grant recipients (both pastors and congregational representatives) to participate in optional peer group virtual gatherings for support, conversation, and collaboration throughout the grant period.
Applications must be completed in partnership by a current Bethany Fellow or Alum and a Congregational Representative and submitted no later than Friday, October 30th. However, applications will be reviewed as they arrive by representatives of the Bethany Fellows board and grant awards will be communicated promptly.