The United Methodist Center agrees to be a Mission Central HUB
When members of the Upper New York Conference staff and trustees were searching for an ideal headquarters space, one of the appeals of the building eventually purchased in Liverpool was the warehouse space. The Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries, said, “Hands-on mission work is part of the DNA of the four previous Conferences that make up the Upper New York Conference; all four Conferences have always been involved with preparing flood buckets and other forms of hands-on mission work. When we found this building, a big appeal was the 6,000-square-feet warehouse space with loading docks and garage space. This combined with the fact that the building was close to several major highways helped us to foresee the possibility of hands-on mission work happening onsite at our headquarters.”
Now that the headquarters, the United Methodist Center, at 7481 Henry Clay Blvd. in Liverpool, NY, is open, the UNY Conference has already begun using the warehouse space for hands-on mission work. The Upper New York Conference United Methodist Men sponsored "Shoes For Service," a shoe drive that benefits Upstate New York veterans, from March 1-31. UM Men worked with Funds2Orgs, which gives organizations money based on the total weight of the shoes gathered during shoe collection campaigns. Hundreds of shoes were dropped off, stored in, and collected at the United Methodist Center warehouse.
Now, even more mission work will be possible in the warehouse space at the United Methodist Center! Why? We are happy to announce the United Methodist Center in Liverpool has agreed to be a Mission Central HUB!
Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb said, “For over a decade the ministry of Mission Central has been impacting lives in the Northeast, the United States, and throughout the world. This opportunity for Upper New York to join in this effort will increase our ability to engage in mission together, while partnering with our brothers and sisters in Christ in neighboring conferences. I look forward to seeing how God will use this space to deepen our engagement in disaster response, mission outreach, and mission education. Individuals and congregations from Upper New York will find in our Mission Central HUB, a place to carry out hands on mission that will truly reach around the world.”
What is Mission Central?
In 2002, Mission Central of the United Methodist Church started as one sole warehouse in Mechanicsburg, PA, in the Susquehanna Conference. Mission Central has had three points of focus since then: Disaster Response, Mission Outreach, and Mission Education.
Mission Central primarily operates with the energy and hard work of faithful volunteers. Goods and items handled are generous donations from churches, groups, organizations, and individuals. Some of the items that are stored and assembled at Mission Central for example are: UMCOR health kits; UMCOR flood buckets; and kits for God’s children who are in prisons, shelters, or are homeless.
In 2006, Mission Central began to search for a way to enable persons from the more distant regions of their Conference to be able to participate in the type of volunteer and service activities experienced in Mechanicsburg, without having to travel so far.
The creation of Mission Central HUBS
From this idea, HUBS were born. HUBS are smaller versions of Mission Central, where similar items are collected and assembled by volunteers. Mission Central originally envisioned eight HUBS and now they have over 35. In fact, Mission Central has expanded far beyond the Susquehanna Conference, getting other Conferences in the Northeastern Jurisdiction on board.
The process of the United Methodist Center becoming a HUB
Bishop Webb formed a steering committee chaired by Rev. Jeffery Hale that includes Volunteers-in-Mission coordinators Roger and Donna Cullen; Joe Auslander, Disaster Relief Coordinator, and Rev. Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, among others. This committee is developing their vision of how the United Methodist Center will fulfill its Disaster Response, Mission Outreach, and Mission Education work in this new HUB.
Donna Cullen expressed some possibilities of what could take place in the United Methodist Center Mission Central HUB:
- “Imagine grandparents working alongside children to pack school bags.
- Imagine teenagers listening to Christian rock as they prepare flood buckets.
- Imagine a garage bay where volunteers restock a tool trailer prepared to repair a family’s home.
- Imagine Sew Sisters and Brothers gathered in fellowship and craft – creating school uniforms and layettes.
- Imagine young adults on fire for the Lord being trained in mission leadership.
- Imagine volunteers for disaster response engaged in an exercise to sort flood damaged goods.
- Imagine your vision of outreach.”
At the United Methodist Center Open House, on Wednesday May 31 from 3:30p.m.-7:30 p.m., the UNY Conference Mission Central HUB will be collecting fully-assembled flood buckets and health kits. Flood buckets and health kits should be brought directly to Mission Central located behind the building at the two garage bays near the loading dock. Click here for a printout listing which items should be included in the health kit. Click here for a printout a listing of what should be included in a flood bucket.
At Opening Worship On June 1 at Annual Conference, you will have the opportunity to help the United Methodist Mission Central HUB get started with your offering. Donna Cullen said, “Your donation can help the hands, feet and the heart of Jesus be seen by many through the operation of this HUB.”
Donna Cullen mentioned some of the specific work that needs to be done to the space; she said, “There are doors and windows that need repair and painting that needs to be done through the space. We have some shelving and work tables, but more will be needed. We will need a way to move pallets and load trucks.”
The offerings collected at Opening Worship at Annual Conference will help pave the path the UNY Conference to make the warehouse space of the United Methodist Center Mission Central HUB ideal for individuals and teams to come do mission work.