A Year of Grace
When Faith UMC started a visioning process in 2012 to refocus their purpose, they were not sure what God would ask them to consider. Would it be large or small? Would it be something they knew how to do, or would they need to learn new skills? They simply didn’t know, but as they prayed for direction the church began to realize the vast economic disparities that existed among the communities in their local school district and soon they knew they were called to bridge that divide.
It was a tall feat. There were only 85 disciples on average in their little church in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania, but they trusted their discernment process and launched a ministry called Roots of Faith in Sharpsburg. Partnering with other local churches and organizations, they began providing a community dinner, medical services, pro-bono legal assistance, and antipoverty programs. Most recently, they worked to bring an affordable grocery store to Sharpsburg. They added two Bible studies and worship service as well.
Now, these 85 disciples are reaching approximately 3,000 people every year!
In 2003, long before Faith realized their call to the Roots of Faith ministry, they received a loan from The United Methodist Development Fund (UMDF) – a United Methodist organization that not only offers loans and investment opportunities to churches, but also takes a significant portion of their net revenue to support the work of the church.
Faith used this loan to build a modern sanctuary and expanded education facilities, but as the church grew and took on their new mission, they experienced some unexpected growing pains and their financial model became more complex. They knew they were called to continue Roots of Faith, but they needed a time of grace for their loan payments. UMDF made that possible. For an entire year, the church will make interest only payments.
“The grace of interest only payments will make a difference,” Pastor Scott Schafer expressed. For Faith, this extra time will allow their pre-school to turn itself around and give the church the chance to feel equipped to budget for Roots of Faith, which has flourished more quickly than they imagined.
“It has been overwhelmingly positive to work with UMDF. In the midst of problems, it is nice to have someone who is on your side and can help you come up with solutions in the world of ministry. Our church is bringing people from different economic backgrounds together, which is truly unique, and we believe UMDF helped make this possible.”
UMDF stands with Faith’s outreach mission. Could UMDF stand with you?