Rural Matters
Rural Matters
Jul 21, 2020
The Duke Endowment’s Faith-Based Programs (Part I): Impact of Churches
Play • 35 min

This is the first episode in a new series, called Faith-Based Programs & Their Impact on Rural Communities, which we’re doing in collaboration with and supported by The Duke Endowment, a private philanthropic organization that serves North Carolina and South Carolina in four distinct grantmaking areas: health care, child & family well-being, higher education, and rural United Methodist churches. Michelle chats with Robb Webb, Director of The Duke Endowment’s Rural Church program area, and with Kristen Richardson-Frick, Associate Director of the Rural Church program area. Webb discusses how churches can be more than just places of worship and instruction. Their physical assets can eventually be used for a variety of purposes, including women’s and children’s shelters, retail spaces such as church-run coffee shops, and even as commercial kitchens, according to Webb. Richardson-Frick relates how pastors are seeing signs of hope during the COVID-19 pandemic as more worshipers congregate through online platforms than previously gathered in pews on Sunday mornings. She also describes how spiritual leaders have pivoted to offer counseling and other key services online in order to maintain appropriate social distancing. Webb also sees signs of hope. For example, he notes, churches recognized that local farmers needed support as the restaurants they supplied struggled, and so they reached out to buy food from farmers for needy local residents. He also discusses an exciting program called Hope Restorations, in which local ministries help men who have worked through addiction obtain certification and training in construction and who then can work on houses the church buys for needy local residents. This episode is sponsored by The Duke endowment, www.dukeendowment.org

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