Eight Cedarville churches have joined together to form the Cedar Cliff Ministerial Association (CCMA), which offers aid to many struggling individuals in the immediate community.
“(We) have agreed to set aside our pet doctrines and our little doctrinal differences and focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Linda Davis, pastor of Cedarville United Methodist Church and president of the CCMA.
The CCMA offers five main outreach programs, including a Parish Nursing Program, a secondhand store, a food pantry, a soup kitchen and several after-school programs.
Davis, who joined the association in 2009 and became its president in 2010, described the CCMA as a wonderful example of different churches uniting under a common cause.
“We’ve decided that we are going to focus on this (project),” Davis said.
Though each church has its own doctrinal beliefs and practices, the CCMA operates under an agreed upon statement of faith.
“It would be silly for there to be eight food pantries and eight clothing ministries and eight parish nurses and eight after-school programs,” Davis said.
The CCMA serves the community through this variety of programs.
Rachel Parrill, associate professor of nursing at Cedarville University, said in an email, “Students should become aware of the unique model represented by the Cedar Cliff Ministerial Association. This innovative model is worth looking into as an example of how believers in Jesus Christ can serve from a foundation of common beliefs grounded in biblical truth.”
Through the Parish Nursing Program, registered nurses in the community provide basic healthcare and check-ups.
They receive patients at Beans–N–Cream from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday. After that, the nurses go to the senior center to provide the same services.
Parish nurses are trained to minister specifically to the spiritual, psychological, physical and social needs of their patients. In addition, the nurses give health education, health counseling, support-group development and home and hospital visits.
Second Act of Cedarville is a second-hand, non-profit clothing store. It offers clean, gently worn clothing at low prices. All clothing is received through donations. While predominately a clothing store, Second Act also sells a variety of toys, games, books and household items.
On the third Saturday of each month, the Clifton United Presbyterian Church hosts a food pantry. Volunteers pass out food from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to families in need.
On the same day as the food pantry, St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church operates a soup kitchen, Manna Table, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Attendees can get food to go or dine in at the provided tables.
The after-school programs led by the CCMA focus on providing fun, constructive opportunities to children like theatre, cooking, art and dance.
Davis said that when walking up the main street of Cedarville, it is hard to remember that there are needs within the community. For example, the houses are beautiful and people drive nice vehicles.
However, Davis said that the real need is evident when we venture beyond the center of town and into the back streets.
“It looks like, ‘Oh we’re a healthy, solid community of farmers and university people living and working together,’” Davis said. “Yes, we are. But there are also parts of our village where people can barely make ends meet. And so we need to help them.”
Davis said a number of Cedarville dwellers have lost their jobs as companies have downsized. Others have inadequate or no health insurance. And some have jobs but are recovering from past unemployment. The needs vary, but they exist.
Davis told of one such person in need.
A deaf man came to Second Act looking for clothing. He had with him a coupon for free clothing. Workers noticed that, while he browsed, he ate at least three of the complimentary muffins offered in the store.
Realizing he was hungry, one worker showed him the sign on the door that advertised the food pantry. He had no idea.
Davis said that the next day he came back and signed the word “thank you” to every volunteer in the store.
In another instance, a couple came into Second Act, Davis said. The wife was very pregnant. While shopping through the baby items she asked if Second Act had any strollers on hand.
The store is not licensed to sell furniture, but it had recently received a stroller from a generous donor. The stroller was being kept in the shop’s garage. The store volunteers were able to supply the family with a beautiful stroller for free.
Davis encouraged Cedarville students of all majors and skill levels to help or donate items to the food pantry or secondhand store.
“We have this idea that college students are poor, and I think most of them are,” Davis said. “But if every college student bought a can of spaghetti sauce or a box of Hamburger Helper or macaroni and cheese or Honey Nut Cheerios, we could have 3,000 items in the food pantry.”
And Parill said prayer is also a way for students to help.
“Most importantly, students can pray for the gospel of Christ to work mightily in and through the (CCMA) in our local community,” she said.
Second Act needs clothing donations, which can be taken to the store on Main Street.
“We have mom jeans, but we need cool jeans,” Davis said.
Volunteers are needed at Second Act on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, especially students who can run payments and track sales on the computer.
The CCMA also needs volunteers to drive to Dayton to pick up food for the food pantry.
Also, nursing majors are needed to minister to the medical needs of the community.
“Because you (students) all are the church of the future, why not practice being the church?” Davis said.
Several students have already begun helping the CCMA.
The Social Work Honors Society has chosen the CCMA as the beneficiary for its annual Dine Out for Hunger campaign.
Students are encouraged to dine out Nov. 17-21 at participating local restaurants. During this week, a portion of the proceeds will directly benefit the CCMA.
Abby Sherman, a senior member of the Social Work Honors Society, said, “We wanted to support a ministry that works with the people right here in Cedarville. We also wanted to make Cedarville students more aware of the need that is right here in our community that we are so often unaware of.”
Sherman said it’s important to focus on local needs.
“We had no idea there was that much hunger and need,” she said. “So often we are focused on major world events, and we should be aware and involved in the world, but it should not come at the expense of forgetting the people who are (in) need around us.”
- Clifton United Presbyterian Church
- First Church of God in Cedarville
- Cedarville Methodist Church
- Cedarville United Presbyterian Church
- Grace Baptist Church, Cedarville
- St. Paul AME Church
- Zion Baptist Church
- Cedarville Church of the Nazarene
For more information on how to get involved, email Pastor Linda Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaity Kenniv is a junior Biblical studies major and a reporter for Cedars. She loves reading by a blazing fireplace, taking long walks in the autumn and a cup of hot tea in the morning.