How did C4C get started?
Public schools, perhaps more than any other institution, mirror the needs and hopes of every segment of our community. At the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church’s Annual Conference in June 2013, Bishop Ward and Western NC Conference Bishop Goodpaster spoke about the opportunities for churches to be in mission to public schools in their communities.
One way that was offered for churches to work together involves partnering with schools in ways that go deeper than offering school supplies or food programs. Bishop Goodpaster said, “We seek to build relationships, to listen to what’s happening in the lives of children, teachers, administrators.”
The bishops were joined on stage at the 2013 Annual Conference by Dr. June Atkinson, NC Superintendent of Public Instruction and a member of First United Methodist Church in Cary. Dr. Atkinson spoke of the importance of literacy, particularly as it relates to children living in poverty. She stated that the public schools and teachers across this state need people to step up and partner with them for the well-being of the children.
The Congregations For Children (C4C) initiative was born out of this request, and now many United Methodist congregations across the NC Conference and The Western NC Conference are engaged in C4C partnerships with public schools in their communities. Since many of our United Methodist Churches have been involved in school related mission and outreach work for years, in many cases C4C is able to build on and strengthen those ministries and relationships that were already established — taking them “From Strength to Strength.” Today, over 80% of the 800+ United Methodist churches in the NC Conference are participating in school-church partnerships.