As a result at the 2013 Annual Conference Session, the members of the annual conference approved a resolution to establish a West Ohio Conference Advance Special trial. The purpose of designating select ministries as West Ohio Conference Advance Specials is to open opportunities for financial sustainability to those ministries that effectively serve the marginalized in our region, yet do not qualify as General Board of Global Ministries Advance Specials and are not directly supported financially by the conference or denomination. By being designated a West Ohio Conference Advance Special, select ministries would be able to request support from West Ohio congregations while adhering to approved rules on conference-wide appeals and privacy of contact information.
Seven ministries were approved as West Ohio Conference Advance Specials (WOCAS). A brief description of each is provided below with plans for individualized articles to be forthcoming. Each of the WOCAS has signed a Covenant on how they will appeal to individuals and local churches throughout the conference. Portions of the covenant include:
- The ministry will gain access to West Ohio churches and members only through West Ohio generated news stories and emails. (No West Ohio mailing list information will be shared with the ministry.)
- The ministry is responsible for any promotional design, print & postage costs.
- The ministry may use an approved West Ohio Advance Special graphic on promotional materials.
- The ministry agrees to promote itself as an approved West Ohio Advance Special rather than as an initiative, affiliate or ministry of the West Ohio Conference.
- Churches giving gifts to a West Ohio Advance Special will receive second mile Advance credit.
Selection of the five Conference Advance Specials and their respective ministries and programming was informed in part by their individual missions, visions, and core values. Simultaneously, each is called to be in ministry WITH the poor and marginalized within their respective services areas. For that reason, the Conference Advance Specials have committed to collaborating with one another in efforts to market and promote their programs and ministries within the West Ohio Conference.
The Conference Advance Specials are as follows:
The mission of the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio is to provide appropriate and patient-centered pharmacy services for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals. Services are provided at no charge for those who cannot afford them, and include prescribed medicines, medication therapy management, coaching on proper use of medicines, monitoring of selected patient vital functions, health screenings and education, and related social program assistance. Pharmacy staff and volunteers work to provide pharmacy services, and referrals to other health and social services, to the more than 1,750 patients that come to the Charitable Pharmacy each year by modeling Christ’s unconditional regard for all people and meeting their need for medicines and medication information without judgment. WOCAS #WOC004 Read more about their story
The Greater Hilltop Area Shalom Zone (The Zone) is an energetic movement for justice, peacemaking and renewal of Columbus’ Hilltop Community. Grown out of the Communities of Shalom instituted by the 1992 General Conference, The Zone is committed to finding shalom within the community by focusing on its assets and needs. Through sustained partnerships we are impacting the community through our Mediation & Peacemaking Center, Freedom Schools, a year-round teen drop-in center, a brief legal advice clinic, produce giveaways and many others. The Zone is working towards systemic change, positive youth development, community well-being, and spiritual renewal so that God’s shalom can be experienced among all living in the neighborhood. WOCAS #WOC002
Horizon Prison Initiative’s mission is to transform prisoners who transform prisons and communities. We provide a yearlong program for incarcerated men with the primary goal of helping them realize a life driven by criminal thoughts and behaviors—both inside and outside of prison walls—is no longer an option. Horizon specifically addresses the criminal mindset of the incarcerated which leads to cyclical incarceration and the impact it has on prisons and communities. WOCAS #WOC001 Read more about their story
At St. Paul each year with the help of over 30 partner churches in our district we serve: approximately 20,000 nutritious meals, groceries to over 11,000 individuals, 9,000 pieces of good used clothing and household goods, English as a second language classes, free tax preparation to over 450 individuals, Christ-centered after-school program/meal four days per week to 45 children, summer camp experiences at Camp Wesley for children (this year for 13 children with scholarships and transportation provided), back to school supplies, plus many other ministries and worship opportunities that improve the quality of life of the homeless and impoverished is our community. WOCAS #WOC003 Read more about their story
United Methodist Church and Community Development for All People: www.4allpeople.org
In 1999, the United Methodist Free Store opened on the urban South side of Columbus, Ohio. Its atmosphere of unconditional love and hospitality fostered the dream of a church “for all people” that would be intentionally cross-class, multi-racial and diverse, with a new model of service and worship that was “with” the poor, not just “for” the poor.The United Methodist Church for All People was founded with the mission of being the church at the heart of both community renewal and personal transformation. Community Development for All People was founded the same year. From housing to health to music, its programs provide a model and inspiration for urban ministry and community development across the world, working to improve the quality of life for residents of the South side of Columbus, Ohio. WOCAS #WOC005 Read more about their story
Wesley Chapel Mission Center, located in Cincinnati's Over-The-Rhine community, is an extension ministry of the United Methodist Church, created from the assets, resources, efforts, dreams and love of the members of the former Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church. We serve the Over-The-Rhine community through spiritual nourishment and love, educational programs, and social/moral development to empower children and families to make sound and moral decisions, to grow spiritually and to progress educationally. Wesley Chapel Mission Center is a guiding light and a trusted, loving, safe haven that empowers families in Over-The-Rhine, through their children, to demostrate Christ-like decisions and behaviors that will transform the community. WOCCAS #WOC006
Kindway's programs and services are designed to assist its members on their journey form incarceraton to independence. Our mission is to invest in the lives of those impacted by incarceration, uniting people, restoring hope and honoring Christ. EMBARK is an innovative offender reentry program that works with men and women retruning to Central Ohio. EQUIP provides Celebrate Recovery and Getting it Right programming for incarcerated men and women at Marion Correctional Institution, North Central Correctional Complex and the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Storybooks for Kids provides incarcerated men the opportunity to read and record books for their children and grandchildren. Fresh Starts provides a "going home" outfit for women being released from the Ohio Reformatory for Women. WOCCAS#WOC007
Stepping Stones Ranch supports the opportunity for life change offering equine assisted learning, individualized academic programs and life skills to help students develop their potential for a brighter future. WOCCAS#WOC010
Donate now to one of the West Ohio Advance Specials
To assure your church receives Advance Credit for any gifts to these Conference Advance Specials, please be sure to include the West Ohio Conference Advance Special number included with the description.
Grounded in Biblical foundation, the policy of the West Ohio Conference is that church members are always expected to give to their local church first. As any pastor knows, however, churches and their members also receive multiple appeals for funding not only from many charities, but also from within United Methodism. Our hope with the West Ohio Advance Specials is simply to provide information to congregations about other worthwhile ministries they may feel a spiritual connection to and may choose to support. As with all second mile giving, every congregation must prayerfully discern how God’s spirit is leading them to give to causes above and beyond the local church’s ministries.
If you have additional questions about the West Ohio Conference Advance Special trial, please go to the conference website at westohioumc.org/advancespecial or contact gcooper [at] wocumc.org (George Cooper,) Executive Director Council on Development.