Aug 19, 2022 | By John W. Coleman

The Eastern PA Conference is placing a new milestone on its justice-centered Dismantling Racism: Path Toward Wholeness initiative with the launch of its Wholeness Centers program this month. Wholeness Centers are intentional church-based partnerships with local residents and groups in BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) communities with underserved populations. Their goal is to develop new ministries or strengthen existing ministries to positively impact those communities. 

The new initiative is part of the Path Toward Wholeness commitment approved by Annual Conference (Resolution 2022-07) to address systemic racism and economic inequity. It will award grants to UM churches that are committed to intentionally connect, engage, and partner with the BIPOC communities they serve. EPA will also provide facilitators, where needed, to help churches develop Wholeness Centers.

The centers will engage local churches, leaders, businesses and organizations in asset-based community development efforts.  Together, church and community leaders will assess community assets and needs and devise ways to foster positive transformation in the lives of people and the community as a whole.

EPA UMC Wholeness Centers will: 

  • Work with underserved populations and BIPOC communities.
  • Create partnerships with community organizations, schools, churches, community leaders, businesses, and elected officials.
  • Connect and increase community resources.
  • Address specific needs to undergird long-term change.
  • Collaborate with communities to build on assets to address educational, social and economic challenges.
  • Connect United Methodists with community residents, school, non-profit organizations, businesses, governments, and other faith groups to feed the hungry, provide high quality childcare and educational enrichment for students, build affordable housing, assist the homeless and offer job training.

How to become a Wholeness Center & apply for funding

  1. Reach out to EPA Urban Ministries Coordinator Terry Bridges at  to share the church’s current ministry information and interest in developing a Wholeness Center.
  2. Complete the Wholeness Center Grant Application.
  3. Grant support is available for churches serving with BIPOC communities.  All churches are welcome to apply twice a year (fall or spring). Applications must be submitted to a church’s district superintendent by Nov. 1 or May 1 for review and approval, and then submitted to the EPA Office of Connectional Ministries by two weeks later, Nov. 15 or May 15.

The Wholeness Centers initiative is cosponsored and funded by EPA’s Urban Commission and Congregational Development Team.  Learn more. Learn more about the Path Toward Wholeness initiative.