Serving impoverished, rural communities around Willow, AK, with spiritual and physical needs
Describe the need affecting community
The average medium household income in Willow is $37,000, with the cost of living 13% above the national average. The cost of living for groceries is 31% above the national average. The average income of those the ministry currently serves is well below this amount, probably $25,000 annually. Over 22% of the residents of Willow live below the US poverty level. Unemployment in Willow is about 7%, which is above the US average. As stated earlier, most jobs are seasonal or part time. Those looking for work have to have reliable transportation, and that is a problem for many individuals living in poverty. Churches in the community are small and under-staffed. Only one other clergy lives in the community, and there is no other full-time clergy. Having a clergy present offers the relational opportunities with members of the community who tend to be suspicious of outsiders.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
We hope to continue this partnership with the Willow Church and Community Ministry, and to continue providing full-time pastoral leadership in the community.
Describe the primary goal of the project
The primary goal of this project is to be a mission outpost of the United Methodist Church in Willow, AK, and its surrounding communities, and as Christ’s disciples responding to God’s love by our witness, stewardship and outreach with and for all persons and creation.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project
We hope to see a community with more tools to empower individuals. We hope to see gatherings of individuals and families that will work to live out Kingdom principles on a daily basis. We hope to allow the church to be radically inclusive to anyone through expressing the love of Christ.