What happens when a local church finds itself with a budget surplus at the end of the year? At Christ United Methodist Church, we get busy sharing it with our community. At year end 2011, CUMC had a surplus of more than $225,000. So our church’s leadership group designated the funds for unbudgeted ministry opportunities that come up during 2012 through these initiatives:

  • 25% for educational enrichment for ministries/programs in the city;
  • 25% for assistance/programs for the working poor;
  • 25% for ministries/programs addressing the needs of families, particularly in connecting families to the life ofChristChurchthrough support, recovery and community;
  • 25% for “Horizon Fund” projects – ways we see God moving but we can’t put it into words

So far funds have provided needed resources for the following projects:

Educational Enrichment: Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR) CUMC will donate $35,000 to create a guided reading library at MTR offices as a resource for MTR graduates.  Elementary teachers assess students’ needs and then check out books at each student’s level. Since teachers do not have the resources in their current positions to employ the guided reading method, the library provides the resources needed for teachers/students to reach their reading goals.

Educational Enrichment: Uniforms for Cornerstone Preparatory School/Lester Campus 

Students at Lester Elementary (grades K-2) will have to purchase at least three Cornerstone logo school uniform shirts this fall. CUMC’s gift of $18,000 allows Cornerstone to maintain its uniform requirements without fear of parents being unable to afford them. Cornerstone will subsidize the price so that parents will still be invested in their child’s educational requirements, but they will be able to afford the uniform.

Assistance/Programs for the Working Poor: Binghampton Development Corporation (BDC)  The BDC acquired a 20-unit blighted apartment property adjacent to the Shelby Farms Greenline Trail at 220 Tillman. The apartments will be completely renovated to provide families, including some refugee families, affordable, high-quality housing. This property is strategically located near the renovated Hope Community Apartments and park, and it is a key component of an estimated $2 million program to revitalizeTillman Avenuein the middle of the Binghampton neighborhood.  ChristChurchis providing approximately $50,000 to help fund the BDC’s renovations and provide needed housing for low-income working families. Renovating this property will also send a strong signal to residents and Greenline trail users alike of the progress and hope that is growing in this historic core community.

Assistance/Programs for the Working Poor: Eikon Ministries
As Eikon prepares to offer its ninth year of Vocational Beginner’s School (VOBS), CUMC will provide $7,500 to help the program expand from Binghampton into Orange Mound. VOBS is a summer jobs camp designed to prepare urban youth for the working world. Following a four-week training process, around 40 participants, ages 10-17, are chosen to participate. Prior to their interview for selection, each student will learn write a resume, get reference letters, complete a job application and have a successful job interview. This partnership of earning and learning is an investment that pays remarkable dividends in the students’ lives and communities.

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