By Ansley Brackin
Flat Shoals UMC of Decatur is not a large church, but they are harvesting big dreams through their new GED Initiative. Its tagline: “Welcome to Success”.
The church, led by Rev. Dr. Hubert Brown, held an open house for the congregation and community on Sunday, May 17th. The program, beginning its first semester on June 4th, aims to provide education for those in the county without a high school diploma, and for only $10 a person.
“They need a larger landscape of what they can be,” Brown explains.
The pastor once wrote a dissertation on youth and violence, fueling his passion for educating young people, a key component of young violence, he says. By helping them to better understand themselves, Brown hopes their lives will be positively impacted permanently.
“We want to give them back to society to become better citizens,” Brown continues.
The congregation aims to also help the students feel welcomed to attend services.
“We won’t know how it will go for them,” Brown explains, “but we can offer them Christ.”
Most students range between 20 and 30 years of age. The first semester’s capacity will be between 25-30 people, but a fall semester is already planned due to the high demand. A waiting list has already been created.
The church is grateful for a recent donation of computers for the program, as well as for the 4 teachers and the assistants who have taken on this task.
To best accommodate students’ work schedules and family responsibilities, the classes will meet twice a week and include homework. Providing a small, comfortable classroom setting and one-on-one time with the teachers are valuable factors in providing the highest success rate and trust.
“I’m very pleased that Flat Shoals UMC is offering the GED Program for Dekalb County,” says District Superintendent, Rev. Sharma Lewis, who attended the open house. “Flat Shoals is a small church with a missional heart. I’m very proud of the leadership of Rev. Dr. Hubert Brown and the laity of Flat Shoals UMC.”