The more you know about Central United Methodist Church the more you will realize that we are in “connection” with United Methodist Churches from around the world. Every year our church contributes to Shared Giving through the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference that gives us the opportunity to share in global ministries that would otherwise be impossible to coordinate. Global Ministries seeks, on behalf of The United Methodist Church, to embody the Christian and Wesleyan conviction that all of life is within the promise of the saving, judging reign of God.
Our church has four goals through our global missions’ program.
- Making Disciples of Jesus Christ;
- Strengthening, Developing and Renewing Christian Congregations and Communities;
- Alleviating Human Suffering; and
- Seeking Justice, Freedom and Peace.
All of us at Central believe that God’s Holy Word needs to be brought out into the world on a global basis. We are a people who have heard God’s call to go out into the world … keep those in mission in your prayers as they strive to follow God’s calling!
One of our strongest commitments in ministry and mission at Central United Methodist Church is to serve those who are poor and struggling in life. As a church, we have partnered with Sister Jean’s to help provide a meal to those who are hungry as well as collected and donated necessary items to meet the needs of those living in poverty.
Sister Jean’s Kitchen is a nonprofit, Christian social service ministry helping the poor and homeless in Atlantic City, NJ. Founded in 1991, Sister Jean’s provides a nutritious meal daily to those in need.
When our church celebrates our ministries we look at all of our programs for youth and thank God for each ministry. However, we have heard God’s call to minister to young people whose lives have been devastated by today’s world and who are out on the streets. As part of our ‘Church Outside the Church’ ministry, our church has joined with Covenant House of Atlantic City in striving to bring God’s word to the young people are found living under the boardwalk of Atlantic City, in abandoned buildings and in the parks. Once a month a ministry team leads a Sunday morning discussion of faith at Atlantic City’s Covenant House and our ministry team works with Covenant House’s staff in the streets of Atlantic City to reach out to those young people who are struggling with life.
Covenant House states that “We who recognize God’s providence and fidelity to his people are dedicated to living out his covenant among ourselves and those children we serve, with absolute respect and unconditional love. That commitment calls us to serve suffering children of the street, and to protect and safeguard all children. Just as Christ in his humanity is the visible sign of God’s presence among his people, so our efforts together in the covenant community are a visible sign that effects the presence of God, working through the Holy Spirit among ourselves and our kids.”
Atlantic City’s Covenant House began serving the homeless youth living on the streets of Atlantic City in 1989. Their staff and facilities provide food, clothing, counseling, referrals, and transitional housing to young people from all over the United States who end up in Atlantic City. The people of Central have time and time again provided goods and monies to support these ministries.
In describing the work of Covenant House, THE PRESS of ATLANTIC CITY stated “What’s unique about the program is that Covenant House doesn’t just wait for troubled or homeless young people to walk through the door – it goes out and finds them. On the street. On the Boardwalk. Under the Boardwalk. An example of the good that quietly gets done in the trenches of modern life.”
Covenant House in Atlantic City operates a center with 24 single beds and three spaces for mothers and babies.In addition they have a transitional center with 10 two-bedroom apartments for young people who are moving forward with their lives and have found employment opportunities.
Those of us who claim the name of Jesus Christ are taught in Scripture to serve those in need; to go beyond the walls of our church building and into the world to serve all of God’s people is the mission calling of Central United Methodist Church.
As a United Methodist Church, Central is connected with UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief), which responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on its own. UMCOR’s work on behalf of United Methodists is global and includes countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean. UMCOR serves in long-term disaster recovery in the US.
The immediate goal of UMCOR’s international and domestic emergency response programs is to provide relief and rehabilitation for the entire person-physical, social, and psychological-in a distress situation.
UMCOR always works to enable those affected by disasters to take responsibility for relief and recovery work. Wherever possible, UMCOR forms partnerships with other religious and secular organizations to pool resources and avoid duplicating efforts.
UMCOR provides long-term recovery as well as immediate relief. Recognizing that disasters cause disruptions that can last for years and often create permanent changes in people’s lives, UMCOR works within a community to address the long-term effects of a disaster and assist people in rebuilding and adjusting to change.
When there is a call to assist UMCOR the people of Central are ready to help in whatever way we can. Our eyes, ears, and hearts are open to the call from those in need … that is the mission of the Christian Church and that is the mission of Central United Methodist Church.
Central United Methodist Church’s ‘Outreach Team’ is a ministry team from our church family that works hard to identify special mission needs within our surrounding community. They work in partnership with several community organizations attempting to help the poor and the suffering.
Our Outreach team makes sure hundreds of children throughout our community have gifts at Christmas time while also assuring the shut-in’s are well take care of! This special group of people’s hearts are always ready to help someone new.
The mission of this team is giving attention to the community ministries of compassion, justice, and advocacy. When there is a call from someone needing … our Outreach Ministry team is there to hear the call!
Ranch Hope in Alloway is now home to 56 boys who are experiencing emotional or behavioral problems. Victory House in Williamstown is a residential group home for girls. Strang school is an accredited and certified Special Education school which provides educational and vocational services to the boys at the Ranch, as well as students from outside school districts. The Midway School in Lumberton provides Special Education to 40 students a day. HILLS, Ranch Hopes independent living program is designed for males 16 years and older. Throughout the summer months, Ranch Hope hosts a variety of summer camp experiences; providing arts & crafts, sports, swimming and meals. Out patient counseling is provided for children and adults. In 2000, Ranch Hope opened Camp Edge, a retreat center and challenge course designed to enhance personal goals by offering initiative games and high ropes programming.
The programs of Ranch Hope have always centered on three key areas – mental, physical, and spiritual. Ranch Hope is open to boys of all religious backgrounds and is supported by all faiths. Underlying the school, recreation, and vocational training is a strong commitment to Christian principals based on Romans 15:1 “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak…”
Please keep the staff of Ranch Hope in your prayers, that they may help these young people learn and achieve not only their goals for the program; but their God given potential in all areas of their lives. Volunteers are always welcome.
The A Future with Hope Mission Fund Campaign that was approved during the 2013 Annual Conference to raise $12 million for global, regional and local mission projects has been launched, and in some instances, completed by congregations across the Greater NJ Conference.
Why Are We Raising Funds for Sandy, Imagine No Malaria and Local Mission?
Why are we conducting this campaign? Because people need us more than ever right now. There are tens of thousands of people who still are not in their homes or are living on the second floor waiting for help to repair their ground floor. There are children dying of malaria, a deadly disease that once took the lives of thousands of US citizens. Just as we have eliminated death by malaria in the US, we can do this in Africa as well. Since United Methodists have been working to end this disease, the death of children has gone from one every 30 seconds to one every 60 seconds. United Methodists, working with people around the world, will end death by malaria. Lastly, your congregation’s engagement in mission not only helps people, but it also strengthens the witness of Christ through your congregation. We want to grow vital congregations through mission in our communities.
We host families facing homelessness for a week’s time as part of a rotation of churches in Atlantic County. About four times a year, volunteers prepare meals for the family and provide a warm, comfortable place for the family to sleep in the church building. All are welcome to participate in the program and help comfort and care for a family in need!