By Brett Hetherington*
Nehemiah Mission (North Coast District) is an East Ohio Conference Advance Special that has been serving the Cleveland area since 2003. Launching out of People’s Hope UMC, the Mission served over 2,500 people in its first five years. Work crews are invited to Cleveland from across the United States, and even from other countries, to build wheelchair ramps, paint houses, and repair plumbing, roofs, and electrical and heating systems. Summertime in this part of Cleveland bustles with people serving as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
What began as a mission of one church in the district, has developed into a ministry of its own. People’s Hope closed its doors as a church at the end of 2007, and Nehemiah Mission has been utilizing the building full-time ever since. The mission currently has four dormitories, a full dining hall, sanctuary, gymnasium and more. Since its inception, over 14,000 volunteers have been housed in this space while they have been serving the neighborhood completing over 1,400 individual service projects.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Jim Szakacs, Nehemiah Mission has formed partnerships with public and private agencies in the area that allow the mission to impact even more people in the community, including after-school programs specifically for immigrant children in the community. Becky Trout oversees these programs that are designed to help children develop an understanding of American culture, that will benefit them in future jobs and life in this country, without losing their native culture and customs.
Every Tuesday evening Nehemiah Mission opens its doors for a free dinner where conversation is encouraged and scripture is presented in a non-threatening environment. Each of these ministries, and many more, show how Nehemiah Mission has grown into more than just a summer mission opportunity. It is a ministry that is impacting and changing the world around it for the Kingdom of God.
Learn more about Nehemiah Mission and all East Ohio Conference Advance Specials on the East Ohio Conference website 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.