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Lenten practices such as prayer, fasting, and alms-giving allow time to focus on Christ. Small sacrifices remind us of the great sacrifice on the cross. Throughout Holy Week consider including the five Desert Southwest Conference supported urban ministries and those they serve in your prayers, fasts, and alms.

United Methodist Social Ministries (UMSM) in Las Vegas, NV

Photo by Christina DillaboughUMSM is changing its name and focusing on breaking the cycle of poverty to better serve their community. This reinvented ministry will continue to provide a food pantry to the Las Vegas community as Open Doors Community Services. The new name is an intentional nod to their United Methodist roots and the Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors message of inclusivity.

The food pantry, known as Grace’s Market, is only one of the services offered by UMSM/Open Doors. Their Fostering in Faith program is a visitation center making it possible for biological parents to have supervised visits with their children while their children are in foster care. Open Doors Family Academy will offer workshops and program series providing education in healthy family functions. Through the Hats and Hands program, hats and gloves are given away to the homeless population during the cold winter months and sold to the general public throughout the year to support their ministry efforts.

Prayers are requested for God’s guidance with Open Door Community Services new campaign and name change. To find out more visit www.umsmlasvegas.org.

Justa Center in Phoenix, AZ

A DSC ImageJusta Center is a day resource center specifically designed to help those over the age of 55 find appropriate housing, employment, and other needed services in the Phoenix metro area. Through generous community donations, fundraising efforts, and grants, Justa Center recently purchased a new truck for moving homeless individuals into permanent living situations and a new van for transporting members to and from church and appointments. According to Pastor Scott Richey, Justa Center was able to place approximately 325 homeless seniors into permanent housing in 2014.

Prayers are requested for compassion for homeless seniors and veterans, and that all homeless individuals are provided for with food and shelter. To find out more visit www.justacenter.org.

Wesley Community Center in Phoenix, AZ

Wesley Community Center (WCC) is a Valley of the Sun United Way primary partner and a national mission institution of the United Methodist Church that provides programs for children, youth, adults, families, and senior adults. WCC recently acquired Golden Gate Community Center (GGCC), and is now responsible for the facility, the employees, and serving the residents of the Golden Gate neighborhood. With the help of grant funds, Nomads, and mission trip volunteers from Tucson, AZ; the newly acquired building was given fresh paint, counters, and flooring. At Golden Gate, they are serving the primarily Hispanic neighborhood with integral English as a second language classes, citizenship classes, health education, and after school programs. Wesley’s location at Amigos center provides adult education programs and a community garden. The after school programs for youth and the affordable care at the health center are both continuing at WCC’s original location.

Prayers are requested for good will towards all immigrant families, especially those served by the various Wesley Community Centers. To find out more visit www.wesleycenterphx.org.

UMOM New Day Centers in Phoenix, AZ

UMOM2UMOM is the largest homeless shelter for families in the state of Arizona.  Providing safe shelter and supportive services for over 170 families, UMOM also offers nearly 300 units of affordable housing across the Valley with Program Centers for the residents. The Arizona Department of Housing and The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation invested in UMOM to allow demolition of the dilapidated structure and the rebuilding of a 48-unit affordable housing apartment complex for families ready to exit UMOM. They recently held a ground breaking ceremony, and are excited to continue giving homeless families in the valley shelter, food, childcare, and employment services.

Prayers are requested for empathy for the impoverished, and for God’s guidance as we seek just solutions to the struggles of poverty. To find out more visit www.umom.org.

TMM Family Services in Tucson, AZ

Photo by Christina DillaboughTMM offers a vast variety of programs to Southern Arizona that include fostering children removed from their home by CPS, transitional housing for single mothers and their children, subsidiary housing, and a home repair program. Other programs offered by TMM are ReStore and Community Closet. Both recycle goods and sell them to the general public for additional ministry funding. Currently they’re excited to announce a new community partnership with Grand Canyon University in Tucson.

Prayers are requested for the safety and protection of the most vulnerable among us. To find out more visit www.tmmfs.org.

As Easter approaches, the Desert Southwest Conference gives thanks to God for the Christian service of these five ministries and the churches and volunteers who support them.

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