Camp! We spent a week of day camp learning about growing our whole self for Jesus – including growing our faith, our healthy bodies, our community, our food, and our friendships. We had guest teachers, beautiful crafts, and fun field trips. One of the highlights is that we picked 8 pounds of berries & cherries at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden to donate to a neighborhood food pantry! We made our own shirts, planted flowers, and had an awesome festival on the last day with a bounce house, dunk tank, and snow cone machine all donated by Buckeye Inflatables.

Special Camp thanks go out:
To Galion Alliance Church – their teens spent the week at the ministry house helping with camp. For some of the students, it was their second or third visit to camp at UC! 
To First English Lutheran Church and the Voisine Family – who provided lunches for our campers! 
To Franklin Park Conservatory – for welcoming us to come and play in the Children’s Garden! 
To the United Way of Central Ohio, The Columbus Foundation, and PNC Bank for selecting us as a recipient of the Neighborhood Partnership Grant to make camp possible! 

We have two needs: people to help out, and a washing machine! If you are interested in helping out this fall (tutoring, cooking, helping with Bible study, painting, yard work, or house repairs), or if you can donate a washing machine, let us know when you’re available! Thanks! 

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter in the menu to the right, and also sign up for the Cupcake 5k by clicking on running cupcakes anywhere you see them on our site!

Whew – it’s been a busy Spring. We wrapped up tutoring about 40 students this year, and distributed 75 care packages to 3rd graders who were taking standardized reading tests. We’ve had 12-15 kids at Bible studies every night, hearing the gospel, playing games, and building relationships with our volunteers. Young kids spent the year learning some basic Bible stories (creation, fall, flood…) and teens have been digging into real life faith issues.

There are lots of ways to get involved in UC. In the fall, we will need tutors, Bible study volunteers, and cooks to help out. We’re always in need of people who can do some painting, housework, yard maintenance, and fence repair. We have a few work days already scheduled for summer, if you or your small group or team can help, reply to this email to set up a time to come work with us. 

We are looking for 5 new donors who will commit to giving a monthly gift of any size. If you’d like to join us in ministry, proceed to our website’s support page and click the “Donate” button.

Friends & Supporters,
Ecclesiastes 3 is a passage many of us recognize, if not from reading Scripture, then from the 1965 hit “Turn! Turn! Turn!” sung by The Byrds. They matched verses 1-8 of the King James Version of the passage, almost exactly (they rearranged a bit for rhyming), and only two lines were written by the songwriter, Pete Seeger. If you’re curious, the lines he wrote were “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and the last line, “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.”

Ecclesiastes tells me there is a season and purpose for everything. Building up and breaking down, laughing and weeping, dancing and mourning, planting and reaping – each have their own season and purpose. Here at Urban Connections, we are in our 20th year! We have seen times of planting, growing, and stability as an organization. Now, 20 years in, we find ourselves in a season of change. Our community is changing. Our support base has changed. Our Director, Doug Hartman, is leaving Urban Connections to pursue new opportunities. We are immeasurably grateful to Doug for his years of selfless dedication to learning, serving, and connecting with our neighborhood out of love, while following God’s call and leading. We wish him all the best on new adventures. You can look forward to a letter from him soon.

I have mixed feelings about change. It is uncomfortable and painful, but I know it’s necessary. As development comes, neighborhood demographics are shifting, businesses are opening, and houses are selling. I hope this is a time of breaking down assumptions, developing partnerships, building bridges, and walking alongside our neighborhood toward growth and healing. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we’d often rather see differences than unity and make decisions based on fear instead of faith. At Urban Connections, we will continue to choose faith over fear, unity over division, and bridges over walls.

How do we do that? Our path is full of opportunities. We will look for ways to engage whole families, serve well, advocate for the marginalized, and share the love of Christ. A senior housing facility is opening up across the street, which will hopefully bring new possibilities for ministry and service. First, our team will seek God’s guidance, and then listen to dozens of neighbors about how their needs are changing. We will be taking an active role in neighborhood civic groups and block watches to listen and gain perspective. By spring 2019, it will be time to act, which might include some new kinds of programs or volunteer opportunities. You’ll hear more about these as they become available.

As I mentioned, our support base has changed. UC is seeking sustainability that does not rely exclusively on donations. We are establishing new ways to use the ministry house that will lead us that direction, and we’re excited about the possibilities. However, it is going to take time. In the meantime, our donations are low. Everyone’s finances are tight; I get it. UC isn’t at the forefront of your mind; I get that, too. But, in this season of change, I’m asking for something new. I’m asking for grace to keep going. I’m asking for support as we adapt and plan. Instead of a one-time Christmas gift, would you consider committing to a monthly gift of any size for the next year? You can set up a recurring gift through Paypal by going to our support page, or just email to set up auto-giving. Every gift helps, but monthly support would help us budget well, and allow us the ability to keep Bible clubs, tutoring, youth groups, and summer camp going in the meantime.

All this talk of change… I am thankful that some things will remain the same. Our commitment to evangelism and discipleship is unchanging. Our commitment to the neighborhood’s young people is also unchanging. We remain committed to our mission of “connecting with Christ, connecting with people, and developing our community together.” To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven, and I look forward to facing this new season with you.
Peace & Love,

Cathy Alexander
Interim Director

P.S. We’ve had a great 2018 and we hope you enjoy some pictures of all that we’ve seen God do. Here are some highlights: 
 We packaged 150 care packages for neighborhood schools to use during 3rd grade reading tests!
In the spring, the kids learned about prayer, including how to write out some of their own prayers to God.
There were a lot of summer adventures to metro parks around Columbus, and a beautiful week of camp supported by Dover Alliance Church. Campers learned about growing up in Christ!
And this fall we had beautiful weather and lots of fun at our Cupcake 5k!