The Church of the Aspiring Angels
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Road

Important New Connectional Ministry with St. Paul’s –
Please Read!
Dear Friends,
I wish to celebrate with you a tremendous new connectional ministry
opportunity that is ramping up between St. Paul’s UMC, the building site of the former Onondaga Hill UMC and the ROAD (Relational, Open to all, Affirming and Diverse), The ROAD emerged from the former West Genesee UMC). This new ministry opportunity for St. Paul’s will open up ways for us and the greater Syracuse community to be more actively involved with the OCC students and people who live or work near Onondaga Hill. Here are a few key points to know:
  •   It will not cost us anything financially, as money will be funded from elsewhere and all the main          construction to refurbish the building is being set up by licensed contractors.
  •   Also, you do not need to participate in these ministries, but would welcome your presence and service should you wish to volunteer.
  •   This new faith community will be a café on the hill.
  •   It will not compete with St. Paul’s, but instead open up doors for us to become better neighbors with those on the hill.
  •   The café will provide many things, but it will not have any worship services on Sunday mornings – rather, people will be invited to join us for worship at St. Paul’s. Please read some of the excerpts from the Road on the Hill Business Plan to learn more:
Most church members understand that new leadership and new energy will enable a church to move in a new direction. This idea of an existing structure empowering and the idea of “old” powering “new” was encouraging to many of the church members in the small, struggling congregation on the city’s near west side, historically known as West Genesee United Methodist Church. In many ways, it puts feet and hands to the declaration in Isaiah 43:
Do not remember the former things,Or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
The ROAD, therefore, discerned God’s leading us to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places. As The ROAD, we envision being in community with our neighbors where they live, where they work, where they meet, and where they play.
This new ministry location (formerly Onondaga Hill UMC) known as The ROAD On The Hill sees itself as a faith community where Onondaga Community College (OCC) students and the people of Syracuse will:
·         discover their gifts,
·         worship and pray together
·         journey together in life development,
·         find ways to share God’s love with their neighbors,
·         be apprenticed on their journey as followers of Jesus Christ, and
·         be equipped and empowered to be leaders in the community.
Although many people find it difficult to imagine a “commercial business” such as a café being a faith community, it is imagination that has enabled The ROAD On The Hill to see the café as more than simply a business. It will be the place where the community will be centered and where people who have not been reached by the conventional way of church will be reached, nurtured, and discipled in the way of Christ. The business is simply a process. It is not the goal, and it is not the result.
The ROAD is an alternative setting, with fluidity, flexibility, and creativity, offering hospitality in the way that Christ has shown us. This ministry of hospitality offered to the people on Onondaga Hill, including but not limited to OCC students, is a way of disciple-making. There is an observed absence of students and young adults in our churches. Real life issues confront students and other people in our target community, including financial
planning, life planning, debt management and all other life experiences that we encounter in our lives. Indeed a relaxed and informal setting of a “Life Café” is an ideal place where these challenges can be explored in an atmosphere of food, fellowship, fun, laughter, and holy living.
The possibilities of new ministries and ability to reach new people are only limited by a lack of imagination and inability to see those possibilities. Overall, we are offering a space and opportunity for gathering and community.
  • Many young people in today’s world lack a sense of community. This is particularly apparent with students who are relocated from the only community that they have known in their lives.
  • Urban areas, including the city of Syracuse, also lack a sense of community. Cities have been left behind in the spread into suburbia and the resulting economic issues that occur in the cities.
Community is not solely defined as a group of people sharing space, but a group of people sharing vision, abilities and work. In this space, they will be able to network, relax, converse, study and simply gather together to share.
The Road on the Hill will work with the Community Life Office and Ecumenical Chaplain at OCC, providing coupons and information and other forms of advertising will take place both on and off the OCC campus. At St. Paul’s we will keep you up to date in our newsletters and our website. In addition to advertising, there will be wonderful missional opportunities for all, including the target population of young adults who have a NEED to DO. Every month The ROAD will have mission opportunities in the urban areas, including but not limited to partnering with St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Faith and Hope Center, Ophelia’s House, and social agencies throughout the city.
There are two new missional opportunities available now for volunteering:
·   Making Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches every Thursday night on site for feeding lunch to the homeless at Perseverance Park.
·   Placing door hangers around the neighborhood on November 18th to request “warm socks for the homeless” that will be handed out around Thanksgiving, when they give out sandwiches to the homeless in the park.
I hope that you will celebrate with me the doors that God is opening up to us and the great Syracuse to be in community with each other as we journey together in our faith.
Rev. Caroline Simmons