2207 Washington Street East • Charleston, WV 25311-2218 • phone 304.344.3141 • www.wvcc.org

2022 Report to the West Virginia-Western Maryland ELCA Synod
March 31, 2022

Greetings from the West Virginia Council of Churches!

This has been a year of transition for the West Virginia Council of Churches as we have officially spun off two of our large grant projects: The West Virginia Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Parents Network (WVFAKPN) and The REACH Initiative. Although both projects are now their own nonprofit organizations, we continue to partner and work with each group.

For instance, we are working with the WVFAKPN and Stillpoint on a series of videos regarding raising children who have experienced trauma. The series, “Finding Your Way in Kinship, Adoptive, and Foster Care Parenting,” can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBseifoEODW5TXqw_pMJgjA and are being released three at a time at the “Finding Your Way” Facebook page found here: https://www.facebook.com/FYWParentingWV. The Rev. Dr. Sky Kershner and Dr. Deena Shelton will be providing Parenting Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Children Trauma Support sessions in the near future. We also anticipate that there will be a Caring for Kids in Care Conference this year.

The West Virginia Council of Churches Community Reentry Council Initiative, now The REACH Initiative, had a great year. There are currently 22 Community Reentry Councils across the state. The West Virginia Council of Churches awarded the Religious Coalition on Community Renewal (RCCR) a grant to facilitate housing for persons leaving the correctional system. We were also able to award a grant to a professor at Fairmont State University, who is working to create a peer emotional support network for persons leaving the correctional system in West Virginia. This project will help fulfill a long-neglected need in our state.

Among our other projects:

  • Ms. Loretta Young continues to lead our faith-based and African American community outreach for the Faith, Scouting, and Foster Care Initiative. Through Ms. Young’s efforts, we have established new Girl Scout Troops in Wheeling and Charleston, with a troop in Bluefield to begin in the not too distant future.
  • The Faith and Dementia Initiative held two webinars this past year: Dementia 101 and Dementia Friendly Congregations.
  • The 2022 Days of Hope will focus on stigma issues surround substance use disorder and will be held the weekend of September 16 – 18, 2022.
  • The West Virginia Council of Churches Interfaith Program Unit continued its lunchtime series on religious holidays last September with a webinar on the Jewish High Holy Days with Rabbi Joe Blair and Rabbi Victor Urecki. This excellent webinar can be found on the Council’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wvcouncil.
  • The Government Concerns Program Unit of the West Virginia Council of Churches worked on a long overdue revision of the Council’s Public Policy Issue Priorities booklet with the goal of grounding the Council’s public policy statements in a theological matrix. The Government Concerns Program Unit also organized a 2022 Compassion Calls Us Day at the Legislature. The event was well attended.
  • The Council will co-sponsor a youth and climate change initiative called In Praise and Care of Creation: Youth Solutions to Climate Change. Sponsored by West Virginia Council of Churches, West Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, Community Lutheran Partners, and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the initiative seeks to provide mini-grants to faith-based youth groups who wish to work on creation care projects. An initial meeting to learn how to apply for a mini-grant to fund projects will be held on May 15, 2022, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. To register for the event, please click here: https://forms.gle/Y87fKQe2Tcyi8seJ6.

Planning for the 141 th Annual Assembly of the West Virginia Council of Churches is well underway. Our theme this year is “Repentance and Reconciliation” and will be held in-person on October 23 – 24 at the St. John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston. We hope that you will be able to come!

Thank you again for all your support of the West Virginia Council of Churches!

Jeffrey S. Allen
Executive Director


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