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United Methodist Cooperative Ministries celebrates 40 years

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On Saturday, August 6, the United Methodist Cooperative Ministries of Madison County is celebrating its 40th Anniversary from 1 p.m. through 4 p.m. There will be refreshments, great door prizes and silent auctions. The United Methodist Cooperative Ministries began in the 1970's. The purpose of the Cooperative Ministries in Madison County was to combine the resources of the United Methodist Churches in the area to provide outreach in the community. The focus of the United Methodist Cooperative Ministries (known at the time as the Madison Larger Parish) was on the youth in the county. The youth needed a place to meet and play sports.  The groundbreaking for the Parish Center was July 19, 1976. Work on the foundation of the building continued through 1977.

In 1982, the name of the Parish Center changed to the Madison County Cooperative Ministries.  Youth oriented activities were held at the Center, i.e. Youth Rallies and Camp Meetings.

In the 1990's, the name of the Cooperative Ministries changed to the United Methodist Cooperative Ministries of Madison County, which is its name to date. During the 1990's, programs like the Food Pantry, Clothes Closet, Share, YES Ministry and various jail ministries began. The Cub Scouts met at the center as well as the Pine Tree Quilters. Church and Community Worker, Janice Grant, who was assigned to the Cooperative Ministries Center was instrumental in organizing the local food bank.

The focus of the Cooperative Ministries changed from youth- oriented programs to those concerning senior citizens in 2003. The first 55 Plus Club luncheon was held in September of that year. In early 2004, the United Methodist Cooperative Ministries Thrift Store opened. Other programs that were started in 2004 included the Blanket Ministry, Brown Bag Program for Seniors and the Disaster Depot. The Disaster Depot was finished just three weeks before Hurricane Charley hit.

The Greenville Snack Pack Program started in 2008. The purpose of this ministry is to provide Snack Packs to students to take home over the weekend.

A new ministry began in 2010 to pass out quilts for residents in nursing homes.

The current ministries of the United Methodist Cooperative Ministries (composed of eight United Methodist Churches in Madison County) are the United Methodist Thrift Store, the Brown Bag Program for Low Income Seniors, Greenville School Snack Packs, the 55 Plus Club luncheon, Quilts for Nursing Home Project and the Pine Tree Quilters. For more information about any of the ministries of the United Methodist Cooperative Ministries, please contact  coordinator Deborah Brown at (850) 253-2133.

The United Methodist Community Center is located on Highway 145 about five miles north of Madison.

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