Foundation Receives Financial Literacy Grant

March 26, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            Contact: David Bowles
March 26, 2019                                                                                   Phone: (859) 977-0400


[LEXINGTON, KY]  The Kentucky United Methodist Foundation is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant for the benefit of the First Church Fellowship program of the First United Methodist Church, Lexington, KY.
The purpose of this grant is to address the dual problems of clergy graduating from seminary with significant debt and a need to strengthen the clergy’s understanding of stewardship and financial management. Funds are provided through Wespath's Economic Initiatives grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for projects developed through strategic collaboration by the National Association of United Methodist Foundations (NAUMF), the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), and Wespath (formerly the United Methodist General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits).  
The Grant Review Team, representing a cross section of denominational leaders, selects qualifying projects across the United Methodist connection.  The First Church Fellowship program is one of those selected projects.
The First Church Fellowship program addresses the problem of young clergy coming out of seminary “green and in the red,” said Rev. Teddy Ray, the director of the program for First UMC, Lexington. He explained that young seminary graduates increasingly have significant educational debt (red), while also having little or no practical pastoral experience (green). “We developed the First Church Fellowship program to address both issues,” said Ray. “Our commitment to our First Church Fellows is that they will graduate with no debt, because their tuition, housing and living expenses are covered; and he or she will gain multiple years of significant ministry experience in a unique church setting.” The First Church Fellows also participate in regular training sessions which expose them to church finance, church stewardship, personal finance and debt management, as well as additional pastoral skills and experiences.
Wespath Benefits and Investments is a general agency of the United Methodist Church. Its mission is to care for those who serve by providing benefit and investment services that honor the mission and principles of the United Methodist Church. Additionally, its well-being priorities promote vitality in mission and ministry by improving health and well-being of UMC clergy, lay workers and their families.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 to further its founders’ commitment to community development, education and religion.  Its grantmaking in religion focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations throughout the country and increase the public’s understanding of the role of religion in American life.
The Kentucky United Methodist Foundation’s mission is to provide effective stewardship options for people to achieve personal goals and charitable wishes that assure a future for the ministries of the local congregations and agencies of the United Methodist Church.
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For more information about the Kentucky United Methodist Foundation, contact David Bowles at (859) 977-0400 or e-mail
For more information about the First Church Fellowship program, contact Rev. Teddy Ray at (859) 233-0545, ext. 234 or e-mail