Leaders from five West Ohio Churches gathered August 27 to be trained on the Healing Communities framework: Fellowship Church (SV), Wesley Church of Hope (CAS), Grace (MIV), Church of the Messiah (CAN), and Embrace Church at Easton (CAN) now join Powell (CAN), Whitehall (CAN), Asbury North (CAN), Brice (CAS), Church of the Master (CAN), Westwood (ORV), and Summit on 16th UMC (CAS) on the journey to becoming Stations of Hope for West Ohio.
Led by Doug Walker, GBCS’s Criminal Justice Consultant, pastors and leaders engaged in a day-long discussion on the issues and impact of mass incarceration. They discussed the relational response that churches can provide for people impacted by the criminal justice system and learned the core principles of Healing Communities:
- Fostering reciprocal relationships
- Creating an atmosphere of genuine communal pastor care; and
- Providing safe spaces for difficult conversations
Participants heard from Doug that, “Healing Communities allows our congregations to be places where people can bring their whole selves, and when ready, feel safe enough to share what is really going on in their lives.”
Healing Communities is a resource within the All In Community (AIC) initiative to eliminate recidivism in West Ohio. Healing Communities provides a framework for ministry with the thousands of people in our congregations who have been affected by incarceration and who are suffering in silence because of shame and stigma.
To start your church’s journey toward becoming a Station of Hope, engage with one of our newly trained WOC Healing Communities Trainers. Contact AIC Consultant, Reba Collins, for assistance at allincommunity [at] wocumc.org.
West Ohio Increases Response to Mass Incarceration
West Ohio now has its own Healing Communities Trainers as a next step in equipping our churches to address Ohio’s mass incarceration crisis. Amelia Boomershine (MIV), Wendy Tarr (CAS), Reba Collins (ORV), and Harris Tay (CAN) form our first team of certified trainers in the Healing Communities framework.
Our trainer team brings a wealth of diverse experience to guide congregations through discovering their own ministry response around the issues of mass incarceration, especially individuals sitting in shame on Sunday because a friend or family member has been caught up in the criminal justice system.
“Having our own West Ohio trainers means we can be more responsive to local churches that are discovering the widespread impact of the mass incarceration crisis in our communities,” says AIC Consultant Reba Collins. “With 1 in 25 Ohioans under correctional control, most congregations have at least one person in their churches that has been impacted by incarceration. They just might not know it yet. Having four trainers in different districts allows us to develop the Healing Communities framework more readily across the conference, and increase our response to this crisis.”
You can get to know our new Healing Communities Trainers by reading their profiles on the Conference Website in the Healing Communities section. To schedule a Healing Communities training for your church or a group of churches in your area, contact Reba Collins at allincommunity [at] wocumc.org.