COB announces recipients of ecumenical grants and scholarships

Press release
December 8, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has announced recipients of the 2023 Local Initiative grants and scholarships for those to represent the denomination at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions.

This is part of the COB’s responsibility to offer formal ecumenical and interreligious engagements through trainings, grants and scholarships to help persons and groups engage in their local contexts.

The Local Initiative Grants are designed to help annual conference groups create ministry projects that are ecumenical and/or interreligious.  Projects must include persons beyond The United Methodist Church, and they must focus on unity, reception and reconciliation.
COB Ecumenical Officer Bishop Sally Dyck made the announcement for the following recipients of the $1,000 each Local Initiative Grants:
  • The Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Northern Conference of Nigeria, under Bishop John Wesley Yohanna, will be working to revive the Fellowship of Christian Churches in Nigeria (FCCN).  They will do this through the creation of a gathering called a Love Feast, hoping to include all thirteen churches in the organization.  The Love Feast will take place in April of 2023 and will be an ecumenical revival, including ecumenical teaching, music and meals.
  • The CACO United Methodist Youth Agency of Central Congo, under Bishop Daniel Lunge, will be creating a project called BOMOKO, which means “unity.”  They will provide ecumenical and interreligious activities during their class holidays in order to bring together young people from different denominations for education, cultural and recreational activities around the theme of unity. 
  • An additional grant from 2022 has been extended, as the project coordinators were unable to be complete their ministry due to the high number of COVID cases earlier this year.  This project is being led by Parsippany United Methodist Church in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.  This congregation will be hosting an interfaith meal and dialogue for forty Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus in their community in order to promote hospitality and dialogue.
In addition, Bishop Dyck announced the recipients of six partial scholarships for United Methodists to attend the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions (PWR).  The PWR is the largest global interreligious gathering, bringing together thousands of adherents from hundreds of religions and religious organizations.  The next gathering will be held in Chicago, Illinois August 14-18, 2023, and the Council of Bishops has offered six $500 scholarships to the following persons:
  • Rajkumar Mutnal (Student at Drew Seminary, Greater NJ Annual Conference)
  • Katye Chambers (Deacon serving Garrett Evangelical Seminary, Arkansas Annual Conference)
  • Cesar Lodiha Akoka (Student at Wesley Seminary, West Congo Annual Conference)
  • Rene Yon Pak (Elder, Greater NJ Annual Conference)
  • Sean Lewis (Elder, Western PA Annual Conference)
  • Kris Androsky (Elder, Wisconsin Annual Conference)
These first-time participants will join Bishop Mary Ann Swenson and COB Ecumenical Staff Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst in representing The United Methodist Church.  (For more information and to register go to
For more information, contact Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst:

Media Contact:

Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga

Director of Communications - Council of Bishops

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