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United Theological Seminary Launches Urban Ministry Initiative
Date:4/29/2013

Dayton, OH (PRWEB) April 29, 2013

United Theological Seminary (United) President Wendy Deichmann announced new plans for an initiative that will help to renew, rehabilitate and redevelop communities through urban ministry education.

The project includes a partnership with the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC). The Conference and Dayton First UMC congregation have gifted to the seminary the property at 1516 Salem Ave. that belonged previously to First UMC. The First UMC congregation has dwindled in size and is sharing space with another church, but wanted to see the massive building continue to serve the purposes of ministry in the DaytonView area.

The gift is of historic significance in that the seminary was founded in 1871 by Bishop Milton Wright, the father of Wilbur, Orville and Katharine Wright, all active members of the congregation that later became known as First UMC. Though its ownership is being transferred, the historic property is “staying in the family,” said Rev. Chris Heckaman, UMC Miami Valley District Superintendent.

The old First UMC building and several neighboring houses will be renovated to provide apartments for approximately 30 seminary students, as well as larger gathering areas and meeting rooms. The sanctuaries will be refurbished and used for worship and other events. United will invest up to $3.5 million in the DaytonView initiative over the next 3-5 years. While much of the cost will be related to student housing, the United’s Center for Urban Ministry and several other offices will also be housed in the DaytonView church building.

“As a result of United’s growth in recent years, the need for more space became apparent. This gift of property and partnership with the Conference is perfectly timed,” said President Deichmann. “Our growth has also m
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