Honoring Tradition Through Change

By Rick Wolcott

The United Methodist Community Center has a tradition in the Mahoning Valley of resourcing, teaching and empowering individuals and families.  Locations in Youngstown and Warren enable the Center to provide its diversified services to a greater number of people.

Recently the Warren site relocated to First United Methodist Church (Mahoning Valley District) of Warren.  The move was originally intended to be temporary, but the partnership was so successful that leaders from both organizations decided to make the relocation permanent.

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said the church and the center provide a great partnership with the city and schools.  “I am so enlightened and inspired by what I see here,” he said. “This is a new day and a new beginning.”

The move was driven by the desire to maximize the use of resources while keeping the focus on serving others. It’s not often that you hear about embracing change to honor tradition but that is exactly what the United Methodist Community Center did – and it’s working.

Warren First UMC is located right across the street from the Trumbull County Veterans Commission.  Since the move, the Community Center’s already vibrant program serving homeless veterans has tripled its clientele!

“In 1925 this congregation founded the original community center,” said Rick Oaks, lead pastor at Warren First UMC.  “We are now building on that foundation in a new way. This partnership will enable the continuation of bringing hope and resources into the lives of many people in our community.”