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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Cady Grant awards for 2020

    June 15, 2020 / By Blenda Smith

    Editor’s Note: The Cady team has told awardees that they may be creative and flexible in using the grants. Due to COVID-19, programs have either been postponed or modified. 

    The Upper New York (UNY) Cady Grant is an annual award is given as a bequeath from Ercil B. Cady in 1992 “for the benefit or education of disadvantaged minority group individuals, preferably black and American Indians.” While that language is considered dated today, the heart of the bequest is clear.

    A committee of representatives of the Conference Commission on Religion and Race (CCORR), the Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM), and an UNY District Superintendent review applications annually and grants awards using the interest accrued from the principle bequest. The Cady Grant Committee is delighted to share the award winners for 2020.

    This year’s awards went to six awesome endeavors.

    “Reading on the Roc” is awarded a $2,200 grant to address one of the systemic issues of poverty, namely literacy. The community around Covenant United Methodist Church in northeast Rochester is highly diverse and economically challenged. Reading on the Roc will happen in conjunction with church meals. After families enjoy a meal, adults will share in conversation and fellowship while school-aged children will have a designated space and time to be read to by an adult volunteer every other week. This faith-based reading program will be a fun and educational opportunity for the children. All children will be given their own book pouches, and receive new books to take home and keep each time they meet. This program is special on so many levels; it addresses family and community relationships, hunger and literacy.

    Another Cady Award is for $3,400 was given to Central Park United Methodist Church in Buffalo for “Young Men & Women of Faith”. This faith-based initiative focuses on nine Confirmands who are refugees from war-torn African countries. The youth have an opportunity to learn about some of the history of our American culture. The youth will explore African American heritage and the women’s suffrage movement. Trips to Buffalo sites that were part of the Underground Railroad, the Susan B. Anthony House, Women Rights Museum, and the Colored Musician’s Club will create lived experiences. Transportation, meals, written documents and handouts, and admission fees are covered by this grant.

    Friends of Ganondagan received a Cady Grant of $5,000 for “Our Minds are One” Indigenous Food Event. This community wide weekend event in October is an excellent opportunity for Native Americans to honor their culture and reconnect with their heritage. The event will serve a hundred Haudenosaunee and other Native Americans by creating a purposeful Indigenous food experience featuring heirloom Iroquois White Corn. The event supports cultural growth, community building, improved well-being, and a stronger relationship with the Natural World. Because Upper New York Conference experienced an Act of Repentance & Healing of Relationships with Indigenous Persons in 2015, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to the Haudenosaunee peoples. Friends of Ganondagan educate Native Americans about their own culture and act a cultural bridge between Native American and non-Native American cultures.

    The Crossroads District & Vital Congregations received a $6,000 Cady Grant for the Mosiax Multi-Ethnic Cohort. Nine congregations will learn tools to assist congregations that are in communities of increasingly multi-ethnic diversity to become culturally and racially sensitive. This ministry will assist racial ethnic pastors and congregations to receive practical training from experienced multi-ethnic church leaders. Supporting multi-ethnic pastors and congregations is vital in the challenge to Imagine No Racism. This grant will specifically support scholarships, book, materials and supplies for multi-ethnic participants.

    A Cady Grant Award of $3,500 was awarded for one clergy to attend “The Festival of Homiletics”. It is an honor to support a Native Christian who will model a deeper faith walk with Jesus for all. Excellence in preaching and the desire for growth are essential for quality ministry. This opportunity will yield grow in ability to preach more effectively to contemporary issues related to congregations, such as racism, the increase of hate groups, and violence. Bringing Native American heritage and anti-racism wisdom to two rural churches that are essentially void of diversity is a challenge. Enhanced preaching abilities will help shepherd the congregations as followers of Jesus.

    The final Cady Grant of $2,400 was awarded for “Summer Camp Fun” through the Genesee Valley District. One of the District’s goals is to increase participation in our UNY camping program while opening it to campers and leaders who may not traditionally participate in this disciple-making opportunity. The goal is 24 students of color ages 8 to 12 years who may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a Christian retreat at Asbury. Hopefully, the experience will encourage and increase future participation in a week long camp at one of our UNY Camp & Retreat Centers. In addition to the overnights, youth will incorporate typical camp-like experiences including archery, swimming, boat rides, crafts, nature walks, games and campfires with s’mores along with worship and Bible studies. The youth will experience new opportunities to meet people who they would not normally be in contact with. Finally, the camp will provide a fun environment to learn about God and what Jesus taught.


    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."