By Brett Hetherington*
The Urban Mission (Ohio Valley District) in Steubenville has served the Ohio Valley area in many different ways since 1959. Today the staff and volunteers of the East Ohio Conference Advance Specials ministry has an additional facility from which they will be able to assist the people and communities the Mission serves.
“We want to be a part of the revitalization that is taking place here, and we’ve realized that we can do that along our street here on North Street,” shared the Rev. Ashley Steele, director of The Urban Mission. “There has been an opportunity that we have been eyeing for some time to move a lot of our ministries and programs into a much larger space, a handicapped-accessible place and one that’s just up the road from us.”
On October 17, 2019 The Urban Mission purchased the vacated shopping plaza just down the street from its current headquarters. Volunteers have been working to clear out the space so it can be used for clothing giveaways and other temporary ministry events. Further renovation of the site will take place over the coming months.
“It is our plan to create a space for a ‘pay what you can’ restaurant and training kitchen, a fresh food market for the community, training classrooms and day care for families within the plaza,” Steele said. There is more on the drawing board, but this is where the vision begins.
The training classrooms will first be utilized by the Jobs for Life ministry, a program that helps prepare men and women for meaningful work through honest relationships, mentoring, work-force development training, and an ongoing community of support.
The current vision of The Urban Mission grows out of a desire to do more than just meet basic needs, but to provide for the needs of the whole person. “While we believe we will always be a place for folks to come and access emergency services, those types of ministries The Urban Mission has been known for years, we also feel a responsibility to this area to help people break out of the cycle of poverty,” Steele said.
With the new space comes the opportunity for new volunteers to catch the vision and become hands and feet of Jesus Christ in serving the Ohio Valley as part of The Urban Mission ministry team. Learn more about The Urban Mission and all East Ohio Conference Advance Specials at https://www.eocumc.com/finance/advance-special.html.
If you have a story of how God is using your local church to transform the community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The East Ohio Conference Communications team wants to tell your story.
*Brett Hetherington is the Communications specialist for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.