re:Vision - Serving God, Serving Neighbor at Ariel Bowen UMC


By Rev. Arundel Hope

Thursday, July 20, was a day filled with anxiety, excitement, anticipation, relief and fulfillment in the life of Ariel Bowen Memorial United Methodist Church. 

Pulling into the church parking lot, it was running over with TV cameras, reporters, government officials, community leaders, church members and local residents, everyone eagerly awaiting a truck load of fans to be distributed to neighbors, especially seniors, in the community. 

These fans are to relieve the extreme heat burden of residences of seniors without air conditioning in the Pittsburgh community of Atlanta. It was a joy to see the appreciation on the faces of the recipients. This effort was collaboration between Ariel Bowen Church and The United Youth-Adult Conference led by Michael Langford.

This collaboration is just one of several that Ariel Bowen has partnered with to help revitalize this neighborhood. The church is in partnership with the Stewart Center and provided free summer camp to 65 kids in the community (pictured). It was a great joy to see the church full of happy campers each day. The church also sponsored the summer feeding program, providing breakfast and lunch to all children in the community in need over the summer. 

For the third year, Ariel Bowen has adopted a second grade class at Gideon Elementary School. The focus at Gideon is a new model by The Atlanta Public School System to revitalize failing schools. We are looking to open our doors two nights a week for tutoring and increasing parental participation. The members of our congregation continue to lobby APS for the construction of a new school in the neighborhood.

The church hosts a small economic incubator to teach entrepreneur skills to youth and start up businesses. The Center for working families comes every Tuesday to recruit those seeking employment on local construction projects and a home buyers workshop is held once a month to aide first time home buyers.

Ariel Bowen, the oldest church in the historic Pittsburgh Community, has been at the forefront of the newly revitalization efforts. This community has been ravished by poverty, drugs and violence. However, renewal may be on the horizon with the possible influx of more than $600 million dollars from developments by Georgia State University, The Annie Casey Foundation, The Atlanta Beltline and other investors. The members of Ariel Bowen have been guided by a new vision to re-energize worship and ministry: A NEW START WITH GOD, REBUILDING THE TEMPLE, REBUILDING THE FAITH.

The members of Ariel Bowen have been working diligently to serve God and its neighbor. This is indeed a large undertaking for a small church struggling to remake itself.  There are many challenges ahead of us.  However, the members of Ariel Bowen UMC believe in a God that is bigger than any challenges we face.

Rev. Arundel Hope serves as pastor of Ariel Bowen UMC. Contact him at arundel.hope@ngumc.netClick here to subscribe to the re:Vision e-newsletter. 

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