United Methodist churches in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, including First United Methodist of Elmhurst, will be able to provide food and access to benefits of exposure to the arts to refugees and migrants living in their local community, thanks to new grants from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The Mustard Seed Migration Grants, awarded to United Methodist churches in the United States, continue the agency’s 80-year tradition of helping refugees, immigrants and migrants seeking to build new lives.  

The Mustard Seed Migration Grants, inspired by the well-known parable about growth, are providing 33 congregations in 20 states and 20 annual conferences with up to $2,000 to support one-time, community-based service projects.  These churches will now assist refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented persons and migrants of all types in their own cities and towns. 

“Clothing and feeding those facing challenges is ingrained in the mindset of United Methodists across northern Illinois,” said Bishop John L. Hopkins, interim bishop in the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church. “UM Global Ministries through UMCOR is making it possible for more of those in need to have essentials through a community arts program for children and the comfort of traditional foods.”  

Area churches in Northern Illinois receiving the grants are:  

• First United Methodist Church

232 S. York St., Elmhurst

Known for its Clothing Closet ministry, First UMC will use grants funds to create a new Community Arts Program that gives migrant children of families using the clothing ministry access to free music, art and theater classes with highly qualified instructors in both individual and group lessons. The program will also provide free academic tutoring and computer instruction and help. 

• United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse Ave. in Chicago, was the other award recipient.

“As Jesus described in his parable, small mustard seeds have the potential to grow into something pervasive that spreads throughout a field,” said Roland Fernandes, general secretary of United Methodist Global Ministries and UMCOR. “Our hope is that, by learning more about migrants in local communities and addressing their needs through these Mustard Seed Migration Grants, the ‘seed’ of welcoming strangers will be planted in new ways in congregations around the country.”   

For a full list of grant recipients, visit https://umcmission.org/migration/mustardseed/.  



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