Local mission projects to seek federal funding

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Feeding, clothing and sheltering the underprivileged are major mission projects for most ministries this time of year.

But if representatives of local churches have their way, it may become a year-round venture in Suffolk.


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Representatives of various church-related ministries, including YMCA Executive Director Jeff Ward, the Rev. Russ Leonard, Dr. Naomi Chambers and pastors Willie Royster, Ed Smith, Joseph Hill, and Brad Searrs, recently met with the Rev. Bill Emery, said Dot Dalton, president of IMPACT Suffolk. Emery, of &uot;The Virginia Round Table&uot; and &uot;God’s X Gangster Ministries,&uot; gave the group information on President George W. Bush’s faith-based community initiatives.

Dalton opened the meeting, applauding the work done by former Mayor Curtis R. Milteer, who in October 2001 established the Mayor’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Task Force in Suffolk. Milteer participated in a nationwide mayor’s conference on faith-based initiatives in 2001, and he returned to this city to establish such a program locally.

&uot;Mr. Milteer’s great vision is going to come into being in Suffolk and we are preparing to pick up the ball and run with it,&uot; said Dalton. &uot;During the meeting, Rev. Emery’s information was not only encouraging. It was awesome.

&uot;The amount of money the federal government is providing to meet the needs of people though faith-based organizations is awesome.&uot;

Dalton said it takes &uot;mega dollars&uot; to provide and sustain those ministries that effectively meet the needs of people in communities nationwide. Using money received through the government’s faith-based initiative plan, the organizations are able to help feed, clothe, shelter, mentor, and care for infants and adults. At the meeting, Emery also talked about the procedures used to acquire faith-based initiative funding for Suffolk’s church-related groups, Dalton said. He spoke with encouragement and advised that financial provisions exist to fulfill the goals and visions of local church-related organizations.

&uot;Church-related organizations have an opportunity to minister to the needs of people as never before,&uot; said Dalton. &uot;It is not that these ministries have been seeking federal money but instead, it is the federal government saying it has billions of dollars set aside for faith-based organizations on the grassroots level.

&uot;These funds will help ministries provide services to people who are hurting and in need throughout the cities and communities of America.

IMPACT Suffolk, the organization sponsoring the event, plans a two-day follow-up seminar in Suffolk March 5 and 6, 2004.

The event will include representatives the White House Office for Faith-Based Initiatives, the Faith Based and Community Initiatives section in the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and other Washington-based agencies. These sources will be on hand to provide additional information on writing grant proposals and the operation of organizations, which received faith-based initiative funds.

Any ministry that would like to attend the seminar should contact Dalton at 255-2134.