Center for Urban Ministry Welcomes Volunteers During 2016 Martin Luther King Social Justice Plunge

On Saturday, Jan. 23, United Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministry, located at 1516 Salem Ave., welcomed 50 student volunteers as part of the University of Dayton’s annual Martin Luther King Social Justice Plunge.

According to the University of Dayton’s website, “The MLK Plunge is an opportunity to serve in our community, dialogue about race relations in Dayton and explore how to advance justice in the spirit of Dr. King.”

Volunteers showed up at United’s DaytonView campus Saturday afternoon ready to clean, paint and clear out trash in the Center for Urban Ministry’s facilities.

“This event gives students a good picture of community need and community involvement,” said Max Fuller, DaytonView Facilities Coordinator. “They’re just smiling when they get there — happiest volunteers I’ve ever seen.”

United Way of the Greater Dayton Area collaborated with the University of Dayton to recruit student volunteers to lend a hand at the Center for Urban Ministry, where United Theological Seminary is continuing to renovate the former facilities of the Dayton First United Methodist Church. Volunteers painted portions of the interior and helped clear out the basement gym and several other rooms.

This is the second year that the Center for Urban Ministry participated in the Social Justice Plunge. In 2015, 70 University of Dayton students worked in- and outside of the former church building to clear away debris, making the space usable for seminary and community activities.

The Center for Urban Ministry currently houses six churches in its 50,000-square-foot facility and routinely hosts community-oriented activities and programs, including a Dec. 5, 2015 town hall meeting with U.S. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan. The Center also provides an invaluable opportunity for seminary students to gain hands-on experience serving in an urban community.

Programs at the Center for Urban Ministry will continue to grow as renovations are completed. The Center recently received a grant from the Fred M. Luther Trust Foundation that will support updates to the building’s heating and air conditioning systems.

United Way contributed $200 toward paint and other supplies for the Jan. 23 renovation projects, and Montgomery County Solid Waste District provided a dumpster for trash. RTA provided volunteer transportation to and from the Center for Urban Ministry.