Director's Report 2011
Looking back over the past year, here are some accomplishments:
1) We added 40 more Liaisons bringing our total to over 100. This is a new program consisting of a lay person in each congregation who communicates regularly, via newsletters, bulletins, website etc, stories and events helpful to the developing of outreach ministries in their congregations.
2) Seven congregations applying for the first time will be receiving 2012 grants demonstrating that more and more churches and dong all they can to launch, maintain and expand their outreach to the local community.
3) After an excellent Strategic Planning session with George Howard in February we have created a new Mission Saturation Sunday involving 70 plus speakers who will be sharing mission moments in Capitol Area North on Oct 30 and February 26 in Capitol Area South. Our
goal is for every person in the pew to know about Community Ministries and become a mission
minded disciple of Jesus Christ.
4) Our 2011 theme, Fanning the Flame by Going Deeper has helped us to deepen our prayer- life, seeking "break-throughs" and deepening our commitment to help congregations go beyond the walls of their hearts and buildings.
5) Faith Sharing has become an important aspect of all of our work. It is a priority both in terms of grants given and it will be the topic of workshops offered in early 2012 called Connecting with the Soul.
6) Building Bridges Out of Poverty has been an important vehicle for helping people build relationships with the people they serve. Over 400 people have attended these workshops and are demonstrating that they are benefitting from this approach. We will offer Bridges I on Oct
4, and Bridges II on October 22.
7) We have started a Job creation task force to assist congregations in giving a hand-up not just a hand out to the people they serve. Several churches attended our Social Enterprise 101 class taught by David Cofer at Church for all People with the hope of starting new small business ventures like gardening, landscaping, jewelry, catering and a coffee shop. Mentoring and spiritual and emotional support is an important aspect of this type of outreach ministry.
8) We are building a stronger relationship with the various Ethnic Ministries in our two districts- see our site visit report on pages 30-31 for more information about these ministries.
Director's Report 2010
In the last few months there have been two main emphases at Community Ministries:
1) Outreach Grants and 2) Bridges Out of Poverty/ Ministry with the Poor.
1) Outreach Grants
We held our Community Ministries Grant workshops in three locations in May to help churches prepare their grant requests. This year we received 68 grant applications from 57 churches- a big increase over last year! To do all of the site visits our Local Outreach Support Committee needed a larger team, so we added 5 persons: Alan Sippel, Deborah Archie, Johna Curle, Brian Vinson and Kimberly Weaver. I made 15 site visits myself in the month of July- an inspiring journey around the districts!
Our Local Outreach Support committee also approved a new District Mission Center, Broad St UMC, based on the recommendation of a sub- committee that made the site visit. It was agreed that Broad St fits the District Mission Center definition- a hub with many outreach ministries to a local low income community, with lots of partner churches, and a calling to teach other churches how to reach out in their communities. So we now have 4 district mission centers- 2 in Capitol area North and 2 in Capitol Area South.
In all, in 2011 we will be giving out $185,000 in grants plus over $40,000 in Ethnic ministry support thanks to your wonderful apportionment giving!
2) Bridges Out of Poverty/Ministry With the Poor
Building Bridges is our theme for this year as a way to live into the Ministry with the Poor emphasis for our Annual Conference. Lou Seipel and others led the Bridges out of Poverty workshops at Lakeside and we are bringing 6 Bridges workshops to our districts over the next few months. Our first one was held in June at Croton UMC in Northwestern Licking County, followed by one in August at Community UMC in Circleville. Both of these churches will be receiving 2011 Community Ministries grants so they can continue their Bridges work after the workshops via Getting Ahead classes in Croton and Neighborhood Networks in Circleville. These are exciting first steps in encouraging congregations to engage in ministry with the poor. I also have been preaching on this theme in 8 churches this summer.
In all of these efforts I feel we are helping churches to create a new culture which moves from a solely direct aid program to a ministry with- valuing each person and their assets, regardless of economic background and inviting them into a deeper relationship with Jesus. I am very excited about our ministry and the possibilities it offers.
We have also formed a Relational Task Force made up of both low income persons and church leaders to discuss best practices and how to help churches and outreach ministries to build relationships with the people they serve. We hope to develop a 2 page document and then have a workshop in the spring to help churches move forward into ministry with/making disciples for Jesus with people living in poverty.
Our advocacy task force also fits under this theme; we are working on a survey for local outreach ministries to learn how they are encouraging low income persons to find their own voice (self-advocacy). We held a roundtable attended by 40 people in August in partnership with Faith Vote and plan to also offer further training in the spring.
Finally let me mention that 5 people from CAN/CAS (including myself) attended the 2 day Asset Based Community Development training held at Ft McKinley UMC in Dayton in June. I also plan to bring aspects from this workshop to central Ohio next year. We are all on a journey of learning how to love the people God has called us to serve; I am excited to be a co-investigator (co-learner) with you!
TO ________+___________ WITH______________BECOMES:
Material Aid Building Relationships Mutual Transformation
Feed the Hungry Mt 25 Care for the widow/orphan Self-advocacy
Rebuild the Houses- Is 58 Visit the sick/ prisoner Leadership Development
Mt 25, John 21 Spiritual growth Life in Community
Luke 4: 18-19
Director's Report 2009
The 2009 theme for United Methodist Community Ministries is Expanding Community Circles of Hope. We began the year by offering a workshop in each of the nine counties on how to connect with the local community. Donita Harris, Steve Rodgers, Richard Dunbar along with several facilitators were instrumental in laying a foundation for partnerships in each county. Light bulbs turned on as people realized that no church can do all God is calling them to do on their own. Building community relationships with schools, other churches, and agencies, and looking for assets as well as needs, is empowering more churches to get involved. Meanwhile in the midst of a recession and cut-backs this collaboration is needed all the more!
After these initial workshops, followed by a workshop about Understanding Homelessness and the Culture of Poverty-how to build relationships with people in need, we began a process of bringing churches together in each county to dialogue about needs in their community and strengths they have together in reaching out. In each case that initial conversation has led to inviting other key leaders to the table and developing new initiatives. Here is some of what has been unfolding in 2009:
1) Logan County has formed a Food Pantry Outreach group to provide better communication between the pantries and better collaboration in sharing resources.
2) In Marion County churches are meeting together on a monthly basis to prepare for a fall community service day in several communities. They hope to provide free meals, home repair and, handy helper activities in several locations.
3) The Union County Outreach Task force has been formed to deal with the lack of emergency housing in Union County. They are in the process of applying for grants and looking for sites for a Good Samaritan House through the auspices of the Marysville Area Ministerial Association.
4) In Franklin County outreach leaders had networking meetings in the areas of housing, jobs, children and youth, and food and gardening.
5) In Delaware County 3 churches have come together to start a Three Sisters Garden in partnership with the Westerville Estates Mobile Home Park. Churches in Delaware are also coming together to form a Family Promise Interfaith Hospitality Network.
6) In Licking County after several meetings around the issue of homelessness, a task force has formed in Newark to develop a website and to form a Habitat for Humanity Coalition, hoping to build a house this fall.
7) In Fairfield County outreach leaders have come together to improve communication between churches and with agencies in the county. They have developed a power point that will go out to all the churches as well as a group of people who are willing to serve as speakers. This presentation will also serve as a template that can be adapted in each of the other counties.
8) In Pickaway County, after several meetings, a new furniture pantry, called Furnishing 4 U, is being launched this fall, using the Morris Chapel facility. They hope to help low income persons who are moving into their first apartment or persons who have had a fire and need to start over.
9) Finally, in Madison County we can celebrate both the Transitional Housing Partnership in London (Lift up on High) and new partnerships forming in West Jefferson and in the surrounding area.
As I have visited many of the outreach ministries in both districts, I have also noticed a growing commitment to partnering with others in the community. I believe it is making all of the existing outreach ministries that much stronger.
At Annual Conference and at a workshop held in August on Rethinking Church, I sense that many churches are learning to not only building partnerships outside their walls, but also to create an atmosphere of possibility within the congregation for greater involvement. We are creating circles of hope within the church at the same time as we look for connections on the outside. That internal and external expansion is an exciting thing to behold. The Church of Jesus Christ is becoming much more visible in the local community!
Recently our board and long range planning team refined and simplified our message:
Community Ministries: We help people serve.
We also decided to work toward having a Community Ministries Liaisonperson in each congregation to consistently get the word out about what Community Ministries is doing and what we have to offer individuals and congregations.
This fall we plan to offer a workshop on how to unleash persons on the periphery in our churches for outreach ministries and how to unleash older adults as well. We will also offer a capacity building workshop on how to form a board and a 501CE organization.
Hopefully 2010 will be a year to continue to deepen what has already started in expanding both internal and external circles of hope! I am excited to continue this journey with you!