Effectively reaching new people for Christ is the hallmark of West Ohio’s Light of the World award, given to one church from each district that demonstrates a commitment to shine the light of God’s love into their community. This year’s winner from Capitol Area North is Centenary United Methodist Church.
Centenary United Methodist Church in Columbus, OH, is an historically African American congregation whose mission is to follow God’s call to create healthy, just, and vibrant human community. They aim to accomplish this by carrying out the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment.
“Our immediate ministry goal, within our greater Christian mission, is to make disciples by first addressing the needs of the neighborhood and to help the neighborhood find its voice to speak truth to power,” says part-time Pastor Callon Holloway.
A group of nine Centenary members were trained to do door-to-door canvassing to identify, assess, and help meet the needs of the community. Centenary also uses its facilities to host community gatherings, such as the monthly meeting of the local neighborhood association. And once or twice a month, Pastor Cal walks the neighborhood to engage neighbors in conversation, urge voter registration, listen to concerns, and pray with people.
“We tried to establish the congregation’s credibility among the people of the neighborhood before extending invitations through overt evangelical witness,” Pastor Cal remarks.
Other outreach ministries include a food pantry, annual block party to distribute school supplies, clothing, health screenings, and an early summer bicycle give away. Future plans include having day trips for neighborhood children to visit state parks, museums, and a fruit orchard.
In 2019, Centenary celebrated four baptisms and professions of faith. Congratulations, Centenary UMC, for receiving this year’s Capitol Area North Light of the World award!