Church Transformed Into a Children’s Center for Literacy and Health

Date Posted: 7/10/2019

En Español

The bountiful 48,000 square foot space that held Bethany United Methodist Church for 68 years has been given new life and a new name, the United Methodist Children’s Center.
Bishop Jones expressed thanks to the past members of Bethany UMC, Houston for the vision they had along with the conference for the future of the children in this community.
“I believe this first Children’s Center will change the trajectory of the lives of under served children in this community.
He explained that every child who enters the Children’s Center will have the opportunity to encounter books and tools for learning so they can read at grade level by the third grade and have access to necessary health services.
“As United Methodist Christians, we are called to meet the fundamental educational and health needs of all of the children in our communities while also extending to them God’s love,” he said.
The Rev. Jill Daniel, Director of the “We Love All God’s Children” initiative explains that because of a changing neighborhood, the building was not bustling with children as it was in its heyday.
“But that has changed dramatically,” Daniel said.
In one year, the building has completely transformed from a place where 60 children attended day school to a vibrant campus coordinating the development of 500 youth.
Daniel explained that as the hub of the initiative, the United Methodist Children’s Center will house numerous diverse children’s organizations, including:

  • Bethany Methodist Weekday School – a children’s preschool program serving diverse children from the surrounding community
  • YMCA – providing weekday summer camps for children in the area
  • St. Nicolas School offering traditional Montessori education along with a “daily tea time” for children
  • The Methodist Hospital – offering a dedicated staff member who oversees a community wellness program where faith community nursing and/or community health workers play a role
“There’s hardly a space that’s not being used all day, every day,” Daniel said. “Now, you can’t walk through the door without feeling life. The life-saving spirit of God permeates every corner.”
She takes comfort knowing that with the children from the church’s day school, the YMCA campers and the students at St. Nicholas, a diverse student population has gathered in the space.
“We have kids who qualify for free lunch, and we have the children of rocket scientists at NASA all thriving in this space where we extend God’s love to all children,” Daniel said.