The United Methodist Church Union has been in existence and serving the Pittsburgh community for over 120 years. Across its history, United Methodist Church Union has established the following Social Services Agencies in Allegheny County:
- Northside Day Nursery, North side of Pittsburgh
- Epworth Woods Fresh Air Camp, Warrendale
- Robert Boyd Ward Home for Children, Mt. Lebanon
- Goodwill Industries of Pittsburgh, South Side
- John Munhall Neighborhood House, Munhall
- Bethany House Ministries, Northview Hts. And St. Clair Village
- Methouse, Munhall
- M.U.S.A., Homestead
- Metowers, Avalon
- Methousing North, Northside of Pittsburgh
The United Methodist Church Union has also assisted many congregations in Western Pennsylvania. This congregational support has included financial grants, loan guarantees, land purchases, and administrative services. Other missionary activities included:
- Grace Chapel Mission 1894
- Robinson Street Mission 1895
- Italian Mission, Wylie Avenue 1904
- Polish Mission, Southside 1908
- Trinity Temple, Smallman Street 1908
- Becks Run Mission, 1913
The United Methodist Church Union has developed and sustained many ministries during this timeframe, including:
- The Pittsburgh Parish, an association of several urban United Methodist Churches in the Pittsburgh district. With support from Church Union, these churches connected for seasonal worship and social and management experiences.
- Our Daily Bread (formerly the Northside Congregate Feeding Program) provides meals and other services on a weekly basis to the underserved and unemployed on Pittsburgh’s Northside.
- 8th Avenue Place, which provides drop in services and support in Homestead, collaborated with United Methodist Church Union during 8th Avenue’s development.
- Manchester Reading Program, a reading and mentoring program, was developed by United Methodist Church Union to serve the under-privileged children in the Manchester Elementary School in Pittsburgh’s Northside.
- Work Teams are organized by United Methodist Church Union to provide hands-on services such as clean-up, building, and technical support to areas devastated by natural disasters or blighted by poverty.
- Kids Meal Network was developed by the United Methodist Church Union to connect children with summer meals in some of Pittsburgh’s most underserved neighborhoods.
The United Methodist Church Union continues to assist a number of agencies in Western Pennsylvania such as Bethany House Ministries, Methouse, Metowers, and Methousing North. The United Methodist Church Union remains in relationship with The Pittsburgh Parish, Our Daily Bread, 8th Avenue Place, the Manchester Reading Program, and the Kids Meal Network.
While they are not currently developing a Work Team, it remains a capability of the organization. The United Methodist Church Union also assists local United Methodist congregations through periods of transition by offering support functions such as administrative help. Here are details about some of the active ministries at the United Methodist Church Union:
The Daily Bread serves over 1200 meals/month as well as offering other services to our homeless and unemployed neighbors.
The United Methodist Church Union assists with the Metowers & Methouse Service Coordinator program which operates at the two senior living facilities, providing educational and social programs for approximately 200 residents.
The Reading & Mentoring Program continues to provide a one-on-one reading program for the children in the Manchester Elementary School. There are approximately 80 children participating in this program. Due in part to the success of this program, there has been a significant increase in reading scores for the children at this elementary school.
Sweating in the Spirit’s Fitness Program is offered at Church of Our Saviour, a Pittsburgh Parish church located in Northview Heights, encourages the local population to ‘get moving’ toward a healthier lifestyle. This program typically has 60 regular participants and is located in a housing project north of the city of Pittsburgh.
Kids Meal Network operates during the summer months at 4 different sites to offer children a healthy meal option when school meals are not available. 6661 meals were served to children through this program in the summer of 2014.
Children’s Table is a program offering on the Northside of Pittsburgh which offers programing that encourages and educates young people to make healthy food choices. This is a hands-on program that has reached around 200 children.
The United Methodist Church Union is currently one of the approved Scholarship Organizations through the EITC program (http://www.newpa.com/find-and-apply-for-funding/funding-and-program-finder/educational-improvement-tax-credit-program-eitc) in the state of Pennsylvania. For the 2013/2014 school year, the United Methodist Church Union provided scholarships for 140 children attending 16 different preschools in Western Pennsylvania.
It is the intention of United Methodist Church Union to continue providing services to the underprivileged and underserved residents of the Greater Pittsburgh area and beyond. In addition, we are looking to expand several of our offerings including:
1. Kids Meal Network summer feeding program– Adding 2 additional summer feeding sites which would increase our capacity by 50%.
2. Reading and Mentoring Program – We are in the process of bringing this program to another elementary school in the greater Pittsburgh area and hope to add additional schools in the future.
3. Northside Services – We are in communication with the Buhl Foundation (http://www.buhlfoundation.org/), which has targeted the Northside of Pittsburgh (http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/05/17/Buhl-Foundation-sets-sights-on-North-Side/stories/201405170042). Using data that the Buhl Foundation is amassing, we will be able to determine where United Methodist Church Union can best serve the Northside Community, and we will develop programs accordingly.