Rev. Myrna Bernadel-Huey of Buena Vista UMC in California participates in a vigil at San Quentin State Prison in July 2020. Buena Vista, having served as a CDP site, has a long history of hospitality and advocacy on behalf of immigrants and refugees, including those who are undocumented and formerly incarcerated. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BUENA VISTA UMC

February 9, 2021 | ATLANTA 


Media Contact:

Sara Logeman, Content Strategist 

The Community Developers Program (CDP) is a network of racial-ethnic United Methodist congregations and communities throughout the United States committed to advancing the church’s capacity to be in mission with the communities in which they are located. 

The CDP network currently has 22 active sites across all five of the denomination’s U.S. jurisdictions. Churches within the network are in active ministry within their communities, focusing on work including but not limited to education, housing and homelessness, immigration and racial equity. 

Financial challenges facing many United Methodist congregations are making it more difficult to successfully implement programs on their own, despite their desire to be in partnership with their communities. 

A new model has been developed to address this reality. The Annual Conference CDP Cohort Program will enable congregations within the same annual conference to develop programs as a cohort. 

“The cohort model will enable congregations to work collaboratively in cities and communities to serve those in need,” says Dr. Dana Lyles, director of Multiethnic Ministries for Global Ministries. 

Operating with this new model, the program will begin this month. Each cohort will be composed of mostly racial-ethnic congregations and the areas served will be largely racial-ethnic communities. Their work will focus on asset-based community development, expanding community partnerships, advocacy and social justice. 

“The Community Developers Program has made a lasting impact since it began in 1968, greatly advancing the church’s ability to be in mission on a local level,” says Roland Fernandes, general secretary of Global Ministries and UMCOR. “Global Ministries is now excited to offer a more sustainable model for congregational participation.” 

The following annual conferences and areas of work have been accepted into the 2021 program: 

  • California-Pacific – resources to help close the socioeconomic gap in Greater Los Angeles 
  • Mountain Sky – resources to guide, heal and reconcile Native and Indigenous individuals who suffer from historic generational traumas 
  • North Texas – healthy food options to the Redbird/Oak Cliff Community of Dallas County 
  • Upper New York – educational inner-city learning center in Syracuse 
  • West Ohio – community engagement with six congregations in the Northland community of Worthington 

After attending monthly meetings and training sessions, each cohort will develop an implementation plan and receive funding to help with its programming. For more information, contact Dr. Lyles at


About the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church 

Global Ministries is the worldwide mission and development agency of The United Methodist Church. Founded in 1819, Global Ministries today supports 250 missionaries in over 70 countries, including the United States. It has personnel, projects, and partners in 115 countries. Learn more about Global Ministries by visiting or by following and