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Annual Conference Ministry Grants Advance Community Ministries

Trent Justin 2017

Last year at the Annual Conference, the Foundation offered visitors the chance to win a $1,000 ministry grant for their church. Linda Eisenbraun from Wall United Methodist Church and Peggy Carlson from St. Charles United Methodist Church were the winners at the Dakotas and Minnesota Annual Conferences, respectively.

The outreach committee at Wall UMC decided to focus the grant on two areas: the elderly in their community and their new pastor, Justin Trent. They designated the funds for an elderly care ministry in Wall, South Dakota.

The grant was used for a dual purpose. Many residents at Prairie Village Apartments, an affordable housing complex for the elderly, are essentially homebound. To help Pastor Justin Trent connect with these individuals, the grant money was used to fund his visits to the Senior Meals Program. This ministry has allowed him to meet and build relationships with elderly members of the community, including those without a church affiliation. Through these interactions, Pastor Justin became a pastor figure to many, going as far as visiting them in the hospital.

Prairie Village Apartments

Sharing a meal and conversation with the elderly who cannot get out on their own has been a meaningful opportunity for Pastor Justin to build connections in his new community. He developed relationships with residents at Prairie Village Apartments and their families, leading to further opportunities to meet new people and invite them to church.

The ministry grant has allowed Pastor Justin Trent to embody the church’s mission and extend its presence into the Wall community. The Foundation invites attendees of this year’s Annual Conference to stop by the Foundation booth for a chance to win a $1,000 ministry grant for their church and community.

In May 2023, St. Charles United Methodist Church partnered with Ruby’s Pantry to combat hunger in their local southeast Minnesota community. Ruby’s Pantry is renowned for stretching monthly grocery budgets by distributing surplus food through Pop-Up Pantries across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Dakota. The organization collects surplus food from various sources, including manufacturers, distributors, and producers. This food is then sorted and delivered to Pop-Up Pantries, where it is made available to anyone in need without any income or residency requirements. All that’s asked is a $25 donation, and individuals receive groceries valued between $125 and $200.

Rubys Pantry List St Charles Umc Rubys Pantry

On the second Thursday of each month, a Ruby’s Pantry semi-truck arrives at St. Charles UMC’s distribution location at Brookwood Park. A dedicated group of 30-40 volunteers, including church members, 4-H club members, and others from the community, gather to unload, sort and pack the food. After packaging, they join in a prayer of blessing over the food before loading it into guests’ vehicles. Guests pay $25 per share, open their trunks to receive the food, share any prayer requests, and then depart. Any leftover food is shared among local food shelves and community ministries.

To support this initiative, St. Charles UMC utilized funds from a ministry grant to purchase an enclosed trailer for hauling equipment and supplies and tables and chairs for the site. The remaining funds contributed to a matching grant for a commercial freezer. This freezer is also used for the church’s Freezer Program, which stores frozen foods for local food shelves, the Food for Families program, and other churches needing storage space.

Despite having only 93 members and an average weekly attendance of 24, St. Charles UMC has signifi cantly impacted its community and beyond. The church’s Pop-Up Pantry sells an average of 270 shares monthly, distributing over 19,000 pounds of food, thanks to the dedication of individuals who want to make a difference. The church receives 10% of the shares sold for mission work.

St. Charles UMC Pastor Gerhardt Miller reflected on the ministry, stating, “This ministry has given this little church a purpose. The church is pretty proud of this ministry and how it has brought people together. Many of the same people, young and old come together to work, laugh, pray, and serve.”


Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 logo _Slider.jpg 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000