03/27/12 — Center has new mission

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Center has new mission

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 27, 2012 1:46 PM

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Chris Andes hangs up wrenches Saturday at 3MC, the Methodist Men's Ministry Center in Rosewood. Andes and Lou Cardin help manage use of the facility's equipment. The former MERCI Center closed in August due to funding issues but recently reopened with a new name, director and mission.

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Pamela Adkins is the new director of 3MC, Methodist Men's Ministry Center in Rosewood. Ms. Adkins plans to use the space not only as a place for emergency supply storage but as a community center for men, women and children.

MERCI Center in Rosewood, which closed its doors last summer to reassess funding issues, has reopened -- with a new name and director and a revamped mission.

During its 11 years focused on mission work and disaster relief, the MERCI Center's efforts included helping low-income families with housing repairs, sending supplies to areas experiencing disasters and health kits to Haiti after the earthquakes.

Funding woes proved too much and in early August, Bob Pavone, general manager, said the state Conference of the United Methodist Church would determine the center's future.

It recently reopened, as 3MC, Methodist Men's Ministry Center.

Hired as director is Pamela Adkins, formerly of Orlando, Fla., where she spent the last 12 years coordinating events and developing training for "Man in the Mirror" ministries.

The center on Community Drive off Highway 581 is not just for men, though -- it's there to serve women and youths as well -- nor is it limited to the churches in the Methodist denomination.

She is currently the only paid staff member on the premises. Previously there had been four, she said, which might have contributed to the need for cutbacks.

"Whatever was happening, it wasn't happening right," Ms. Adkins said. "The bishop contacted this gentleman, Charlie Gray, who had a non-profit, to come in and assess the situation and make changes.

"Funding was just not there. They ended up having to close the doors."

The expansive property was eventually deeded over to the Methodist men's group to keep it afloat, which means it is no longer funded by the Methodist conference.

Her primary role right now is fundraising, she said.

"We're now only funded by grants and donations and giving programs," she said. "There are over 800 churches, 839 to be exact, in this conference. We're asking everyone to be a part of this giving program.

She is also working to enlist community support.

"We will still be doing disaster relief," she said of the revamped center. "The predominant change is we'll be more of an event center for women, youth, men especially and we're looking into special events like discipleship training, disaster relief training, men's ministry training.

"Youth groups in the summer will be able to come here and do mission projects around the community."

3MC will be a depot for UMCOR -- United Methodist Committee of Relief -- and hopes to partner with not only churches but Boy Scouts and other organizations.

As the mission unfolds, Ms. Adkins said she hopes those who may have volunteered in the past, as well as new recruits, will get on board.

"We had women in the community who would come here and sew, make all kinds of dresses for Haiti and Nicaragua for when they went on mission trips. I would love for them to come back here and do that. ... There's a couple (sewing) machines here or they could bring their own," she said. "We're looking for volunteers to do data entry, disaster relief efforts.

"We would love to see somebody who could just take on mowing the place on a regular basis."

She has also been speaking at area churches, trying to create awareness that the center is again open.

The potential there is great, she pointed out. In addition to a vacated warehouse that still contains supplies for health kits, school kits and layettes shipped as disaster relief packets, another warehouse on the premises is also empty and could be used as a meeting space for churches or businesses.

"We also have 11 acres back there, that could be used for walking trails, maybe an amphitheater or retreat center," she said.

Plans to build a recording studio are also being discussed, she said, which would allow praise bands and youth bands to have a place to rehearse and record music.

"We would love to come into churches and share the vision of 3MC," she said. "And we would love for the community to use this place."

For more information about 3MC, call 739-9167 or visit nccumm.org or 3MC on Facebook.