New Compass Ministry Gives Direction to Community

( [email protected] ) Mar 06, 2004 10:11 AM EST

SAFETY HARBOR, FL. - Feeling a little lost? Compass, new ministry offered by the Heritage United Methodist Church can help. Beginning next Thursday, people who are dealing with life issues, such as divorce, losing a loved one or low self-esteem can attend the 90-minute classes.

"The whole purpose is to help people help themselves," said Lee Savage, Compass director. "We're not a commercial organization. We're reaching out to the community.”

Although Compass will be a separate ministry from Heritage United Methodist Church it hopes "to return the facility to a fully functioning, healthy church and to have the Florida Conference appoint a pastor to the church within three years," Savage said.

Currently, the outreach ministry is operating from the former First United Methodist Church building, which closed in 2002. Head Start rented out the classrooms and office space but when they moved, Heritage United from Clearwater bought the church.

"On a normal Sunday, we see about 50 to 60 people," Savage said. "What will really help us grow are our programs and ministries."

The now Methodist outreach center, located on Second Street N, has expanded its facilities to include Sunday services, Bible study classes, outreach programs and even a volunteer program to run its thrift shop.

"The church members have been extremely generous," said Lisa McNamee, a volunteer to set up the shop. "I've got more clothes than I can put out. There's clothing that has definitely seen some wear and there are brand-new things that still have the tags on."

Another volunteer co-op allows people to work in exchange for cheaper groceries.

Welcoming everyone, Savage goes door to door to spread the word about Compass.

"We don't have a set agenda," said Barbara Sedanik, a volunteer who is also running the girls support group. "You don't have to be a Methodist or Christian to be here. We're trying to reach out to the community."