Catholics and Methodists: Working Together to Bring Christ’s Message of Love to the Poor and Vulnerable

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by Tiffany Olah, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana

Catholic Charities of North Louisiana (CCNLA)has been working together with area Methodist churches to fulfill its mission of bringing Christ’s message of love to the poor and vulnerable by providing quality social services to families and individuals without discrimination. Through the relationships that have been established with local United Methodist Churches, CCNLA is carrying out its vision statement: Together we invest in people to alleviate poverty, distress and injustice.

Since 2013, Catholic Charities of North Louisiana and First United Methodist Church (FUMC) Shreveport have established a partnership in which FUMC financially supports the Emergency Assistance Program at CCNLA on a monthly basis. In fact, although FUMC does manage a grant system open to organizations in the community, CCNLA holds the distinction of being one of only just a handful of local organizations that FUMC has decided to include as a line item on their annual budget.

“We love the way they do the program, constantly assessing it and finding ways to make it bigger and better,” said Michelle Osborn, Director of Local Missions at FUMC Shreveport. “We feel that the Catholic Charities organization is a very good steward of [our] funds.”

Osborn and her department refer the many people who contact FUMC every month for rent and utility assistance directly to Catholic Charities of North Louisiana. She estimates that no less than five people a day contact her office asking for help, a figure that she feels is extremely conservative.

“We really believe in what that program does,” Osborn said. “We really do. And we need it.”

A direct result of this partnership is that FUMC Shreveport recently announced that it is increasing its annual funding to CCNLA.

Broadmoor United Methodist Church regularly supports CCNLA’s Gabriel’s Closet program through their donations of baby items and clothing. A year-round drop-off center is located at Broadmoor Methodist for members to donate items for Gabriel’s Closet and a baby’s crib holds the donations until they are delivered to Catholic Charities multiple times throughout the year.

This past summer, Catholic Charities was honored when Shawn Hornsby, Associate Minister at First United Methodist Church in Monroe, accepted a position as a board member for CCNLA. Hornsby saw the value in what Catholic Charities does and advocated for funding from FUMC Monroe to support the Emergency Assistance Program that CCNLA now receives.

Catholic Charities of North Louisiana continues to be blessed by the relationships with these other churches and look forward to what more we can do together in 2019!

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