The Eastern PA Conference’s Urban Commission heard reports from current funded ministries at his March planning retreat. Correen Russo coordinates the work of MANIFEST and also directs LUMINA—both cooperative ministries involving UM churches and community partners in Lancaster, Pa. The commission awarded grants in 2018 to seven Urban Alliances, including LUMINA/MANIFEST, and six Urban Church Initiatives.
Current Urban Alliances and Initiatives are located in various urban communities, including Lancaster, Philadelphia, Norristown, Chester, Lebanon, Allentown, Pottstown and the Drexel Hill and Darby areas. Other eligible areas include Bethlehem, Coatesville and Reading. The breadth of funded ministries addressing unmet needs includes:
- educational, nutritional and recreational programs;
- affordable housing, and community organizing and development; and
- outreach to low-income families, crime victims and returning citizens (former inmates).
May 30 was the deadline for the current round of grant applications. The next round will be announced in the fall and are due Nov. 30.