The City Society began, 180 years ago in 1838, when Methodist women saw the need to move outside the comfort of their church buildings to teach children to read. They wanted to share the light of Christ with children and then their families. They established the forerunner of the “charity schools” which then became public schools.
They began their work on the lower eastside of NYC in the Five Points area. It is virtually impossible to overstate how notorious the lower Manhattan neighborhood called Five Points was throughout the 1800’s. It was said to be an area controlled by gang members and criminals of all types. It was in the midst of appalling slum conditions, child labor, pervasive crime and gang fighting that these courageous Methodist women came to this neighborhood and demonstrated the power of their religious faith. linked with love and compassion, they became a beacon of God’s light that helped to transform lives. They ignored the dangers of human violence, contagious health hazards and inconveniences of many kinds to shine their light on the human needs among the least, the last, and the lost. They bought and old Brewery and began to use the building as a lighthouse, a beacon of God’s love to the children, their mothers, and then they began to focus the light upon the evils that existed in the area. They turned back the darkness!
They saw the need of social reform with taverns and bars, gang activity, poor sanitation, and lack of medical care. On every street they built relationships with families to evangelize and educate children too poor to have access to any other educational facility. Their mission work involved transforming the destructive city environments of families into healthier, positive environments. The light of Christ in their hearts burned with passion at caring for others.
UMCS acts as an agent of change for United Methodist Churches, its members and the community at large. We do this by sponsoring programs and creating partnerships that:
Support churches in their development, through the offering of spiritual, management, leadership, consultative and financial resources consistent with their mission context;
Facilitate the implementation of church-managed education, daycare, outreach and fellowship programs for members and the surrounding community;
Promote the education and development of children and youth in our communities; and
Enable individuals to overcome destructive addictions, and equip them to re-enter the larger community.
Why We Are Effective
UMCS mobilizes it’s resources to best support and empower our churches and programs.
We identify both existing and potential areas of need. We understand that diversity leads to excellence and use our pool of talents among lay and clergy to implement practical and effective solutions. These talents rise from our networks with interfaith and ecumenical organizations and its leaders.
We adhere to a disciplined process in selecting and managing our philanthropic investments as well as in measuring the end results.