Three North Texas Ministries Receive Grants from GCORR

The Wesley Wichita Falls Choi

Innovative Ministries intern Janae Law (right, with Lumiere Bisis and Jada Rhodes) suggested restarting The Wesley Wichita Falls Choir to Campus Minister Julia Puac-Romero. 

$18,000 will help KA:LL Community, Denton Wesley Foundation and the Wesley Wichita Falls Choir increase intercultural competency

Three innovative ministries in North Texas received funds to launch or expand their reach in 2023. The $18,000 awarded between the three ministries is part of more than $325,000 the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) has given to projects that will increase intercultural competency and support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity and systematic equity leading to action.

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Dinner Church Ministry, recently named the KA:LL Community, received $10,000 to launch a new ministry for AAPIs and their friends in solidarity to gather and honor their heritage over Asian food. Participants will explore their faith through distinctly AAPI perspectives and decolonize reading scripture to live out faith in a way that is congruent with their cultures. The initiative hopes to expose AAPI invisibility, heal from Asian hate and racism trauma, raise awareness of AAPI experiences and pursue racial reconciliation through their faithful ministry presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Rev. Danielle Kim is working with other AAPI leaders to create this space around the table and disciple others through the initiative. “We boldly trust Christ’s presence around this table, to be nurtured into a courageous community for revolutionary restoration in the DFW area,” she said.

Denton Wesley Foundation received $5,000 to expand and enhance its Open Doors program. This initiative aims to transform the Open Doors gathering community into a richer experience where students of different ethnicities and nationalities are given the opportunity to connect deeply with each other and the broader Denton community. Action items include adding more culturally diverse offerings to their Resource Room and Food Pantry so that students can cook the food of their cultures, purchasing food from local immigrant-owned businesses for their free lunch program and hosting or supporting events where students can celebrate important holidays and rituals.

Campus Minister Marianne Brown-Trigg noted that there are many international students in the community attending weekly lunches and making use of the food pantry. Combining and expanding these opportunities is a natural next step for them. “If our students are far from home and we want the Wesley to feel like home, we need to be more culturally competent,” Brown-Trigg said. Some of the funds will be used to get food that meets cultural dietary restrictions, and the rest of the funds will be spent on cultural trainings to equip student leaders and volunteers from area churches to be more culturally competent to fully support this diverse community.

The Wesley Wichita Falls Choir received $3,000 to help the Wesley Foundation restart The Wesley Choir to address the limited opportunities for students – particularly BIPOC students – to worship collectively. The Wesley Choir will revitalize students' ability to showcase their many talents, as well as create another worship opportunity on campus. When Innovative Ministries intern Janae Law suggested the creation of the choir, Campus Minister Julia Puac-Romero zeroed in on the opportunity to add another regular worship experience on campus that would come out of a BIPOC experience and deepen the Wesley’s connection with local United Methodist churches in the area.

“We discussed how it would become a great opportunity both to bring students over to Wesley once a month for worship, and then also once a month go to a church in the Northwest District and lead all the worship for that day,” Puac-Romero said. “As a predominantly BIPOC Wesley, this can create a bridge with the predominantly white churches in our area. They can see faith in action and what their support is providing.”

The 2022 grants, made possible through the CORR Action Fund (CAF), offers up to $10,000 as seed money.

“By investing in these types of relationships, people have the opportunity to create spaces and cultures of diversity, inclusiveness, equity and justice," said Rev. Dr. Stephen Handy, CAF Committee Chair. "These grants, along with the GCORR resources, will help develop interculturally competent, innovative and equitable leaders, churches and communities that are willing to participate in shifting cultures of injustice and indifference so that people and spaces reflect the kingdom of God.” 

Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2023