Jim Bolich (right), senior pastor, Prince Street UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.).
God has been doing something special in Cleveland, Ohio. At the 2011 US National Conference, Andy Sikora, senior pastor of ReNew Communities (Berea, Ohio) shared his vision for planting a church in Cleveland. At that time, Prince Street Church (Shippensburg, Pa.), which was looking for a way to return to participating in launching new churches, partnering financially with ReNew.
But we wanted to do more than send money. We wanted to send people who would not only help ReNew in their work, but also learn lessons from ReNew that we could apply in Shippensburg.
The following summer, a short-term mission team from Prince Street headed to Cleveland. While there, Andy put us in contact with a fellow church planter named Jeff Bodziony, who was launching a church called Forward Church in the heart of Cleveland. Suddenly, our single partnership reproduced. Since then, multiple teams have partnered with Forward Church, assisting in construction projects and a variety of “street level” ministries.
Meanwhile, a couple from Prince Street named Burt and Tana Hey have been serving as fulltime missionaries at Joy of Living Ministries in Brinkhaven, Ohio. Joy of Living specializes in providing Christian summer camp experiences for inner-city youth, especially in Cleveland–actually, from the very same neighborhood as Forward Church. For years, Prince Street has been sending short-term teams to assist Joy of Living, both with construction and help with their summer camp programs.
During the 2015 US National Conference, God brought all that together in a harmony of ministry that could never be orchestrated by human minds.
Joy of Living brought its staff (including David Bolich, son of Prince Street Pastor Jim Bolich) to the streets of Cleveland to provide a week-long summer camp program for kids in Forward Church’s neighborhood. Prince Street contributed the financial backing necessary for the project as well as a support staff team. In the end, a beautiful picture emerged of what’s possible when God’s people work together for his glory.