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Perspective | A harmonious partnership between a church and community college

The congregation of Harmony United Methodist Church understood that the rural town of Harmony was hungry. They had several successful programs in place that served food to community members in need, however, they believed they could be doing more.

Harmony UMC is part of the pilot cohort of the NC Rural Center’s program Faith in Rural Communities, which looks to partner with churches throughout North Carolina to assess congregational assets and opportunities for community engagement. So the church started looking inward to identify its own unique gifts and strengths to understand how it could help address the town’s food insecurity on a deeper level.

They found that most families whom Harmony UMC served in their local food pantry have limited English proficiency, often prohibiting them from receiving promotions at work or even getting the jobs needed to adequately provide for their families.

Harmony UMC partnered with the local institution, Mitchell Community College, to engage their community and address this need. The church houses an ESL class now. See below for all the details.

Rural Center

Since 1987, the Rural Center has worked to improve the quality of life for the state’s rural people and places. We operate with the core belief that our rural communities have inherent cultural value and are vital to the overall economic health of our state.

The NC Rural Center’s mission is to develop, promote, and implement sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. We serve the state’s 80 rural counties, with a special focus on individuals with low to moderate incomes and communities with limited resources.