Church Partner Feature: Community United Methodist Church

Today’s blog post is dedicated to a group of people that have been so generous, kind and welcoming to Coyote Hill. Community United Methodist Church came alongside Coyote Hill as a Church Partner – providing their space, time, and resources to help further the mission of providing safe, loving homes for children in foster care.

Pastor of Connections Rev. Angela Olsen said the partnership resulted from a sermon series last year regarding service and loving your neighbor. The church conducted a survey asking people to identify needs in the community – issues people felt called to do something about.  

Several people brought up foster families.

To get started, the church created a Foster Care Ministry Team to offer respite events. Each member of the ministry went through training to be able to provide respite care to foster families in the area.

A team of people from Community United Methodist volunteered to provide respite care to foster families last fall.

Respite care is crucial to helping foster families flourish because it allows foster parents time away to rejuvenate and recharge. Some respite care providers offer overnight care. Others, like the volunteers at Community United Methodist, provide care for an afternoon or evening.

“The kids experience a fun, safe environment while the parents have time to shop, date, nap or whatever encourages them most,” Rev. Olsen said. “Having [other] adults who show genuine care and offer safe places for foster kids is crucial for [foster families] to thrive.”

In addition to stepping out in faith by providing respite care, Community United Methodist Church has also graciously provided their space for one of Coyote Hill’s STARS classes.

STARS – Specialized Training, Assessment, Resources, Support and Skills – is a required step to becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Missouri. Coyote Hill staff are currently providing this training to 20 families in Columbia.

STARS foster parenting class | coyotehill.org
Eleven excited families gather at Community United Methodist Church on Saturday, January 18 for their first STARS class facilitated by Coyote Hill.

Each Saturday morning for the last several weeks, eleven of these families have gathered at Community United Methodist Church as they begin their foster care journeys. Not only does the church provide the space for this training, but their wonderful volunteers provide childcare for those attending the class.

Changing the landscape of foster care requires a lot of work. In order to begin training and licensing foster and adoptive parents in mid-Missouri, Coyote Hill is inviting people in our communities to come alongside us. One of the first places we began when launching our Foster Care Services program is area churches. Our ministry has been able to partner with several congregations, multiplying the support our children’s home and our foster families receive.

“Utilizing church partnerships allows us to extend our reach and help beyond what we could do on our own,” Coyote Hill Foster Care Services Director Aubrey Ash said. “CUMC has been a wonderful partner over the past few months. They have gone above and beyond to help in any way they can. Rev. Angie Olsen and CUMC have a heart to minister to foster families in our community, and they showed that in tangible ways by making our first STARS class run exceptionally well.”

Changing the landscape of foster care in mid-Missouri requires willing hearts and hands – people in our community to say “yes.” We are so grateful Community United Methodist Church has chosen to partner with us!

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