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6490 Hwy 14
Ravenna, OH, 44266

330.297.0803

News and Updates

Read about what's happening at Portage Chapel; news and updates on ministries and people.

Work Starts on The Haven of Portage County

Rebecca Miller

Thank you to everyone who came to the Haven of Portage County work day in July! Our goal was to have an event that drew not just our church but volunteers from all the churches and organizations who have prayed and are committed to helping the homeless and trafficked in Portage County.

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Signing on the Dotted Line

Rebecca Miller

We are officially the owners of the land and buildings at 2645 SR 59 in Ravenna! Last week, Pastor Mark signed the paperwork and we now have property on which we can start The Haven of Portage ministry to the homeless and trafficked. It's exciting news! Portage Community Chapel and Riverwood Community Chapel both contributed to the $75,000 down payment and the $350,000 remainder is financed for 15 years. Riverwood will continue to partner both financially and in ministry. It's been a long road since we began in 2015 and this purchase is a significant milestone. 

What now? Well, we thank God for his faithfulness and the privilege to do His work here in the community. We continue to work on the building renovation plans and get them ready to submit. We continue to pray for God to bring donors and partners on board. And, we continue to move forward to have the facility ready for basic ministry use this fall. 

What can YOU do? Continue to pray for God's direction in this project and for your part in it, continue to give, and if you haven't already volunteered at any of our local outreach ministries in place, make sure you participate! You can serve right now at Water at the ROC - the shower/laundry on Oakwood Street; serve a meal at the Center of Hope on a Sunday afternoon; and cook & serve a meal on a Saturday at the Loaves & Fishes outreach at the Ravenna United Methodist church. Sign up for any of these ministries at the Information Center in our lobby. Not only will you be serving our community, you'll also be getting to know your fellow-volunteers and neighbors who have a desire to help and who are also excited about seeing the Haven open its doors.

This new property opens up a huge opportunity to help and to share the gospel and we're excited to see what God will do in the coming months. Right now, make sure that you're part of what we're already doing in local outreach and serving the homeless here in Portage County so that you'll be prepared for the future. 

Almost at the Straightaway

Rebecca Miller

Although it may seem that this First Curve goal to help the homeless could be stalled in bureaucracy for the moment, what we're really waiting on right now is God's timing and answer as to the specifics of WHERE we help the homeless. The goal in front of us is to finish First Curve strong and give the entire $250,000; $50,000 of which is for homeless ministry.

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A Home for the Homeless

Rebecca Miller

During the summer, we met and prayed at the property on SR 59 across from Walmart, seeking God's direction whether this was the right place to start a homeless drop-in shelter. Following God's leading, we prayed and the congregation voted to go ahead and pursue purchasing the property. Since then, we've been looking into all the physical and practical aspects of the property in detail to ensure it will be suitable and we're working on a purchase agreement with the owners.

The building and property were formerly used for retail and we've learned that the township zoning board would need to grant us a conditional use under the current zoning classification before we could use it for ministry. Utilities, both water and sewer, are also being considered. Right now, there is no city water and sewer at the property so we've been talking to county resources about possible ways to make water accessible. Right now, it has a well and septic system which won't carry the load needed by a homeless shelter. Water and sewer can be accessed across the road by Walmart but it's a question of who will be paying to drill under SR 59 to bring it across and down the road to the property.

Also in the discussion with the county and township are what changes we need to make to the building's interior. Ravenna township zoning requires that we submit blueprints of our proposed changes to the building along with a comprehensive usage description. We need to provide them with detailed plans about the activities and ministries that will be taking place. Once these two pieces are in hand at the township, they can start to assess whether they can grant a conditional usage.  An architect is drawing up the blueprints and we've been given a 4-6 month timeline on completing this process.

This part of the planning will take some time but what we're doing are the necessary steps to ensure that we are allowed to have the ministry God's leading us into on this property. We need to have continued faith in God's leading and be patient in the process, whether he clears the way or closes a door.

Building the Second Story in Juarez

Rebecca Miller

 Last year's VBS packing into the brand new building's first floor

Last year's VBS packing into the brand new building's first floor

In a few weeks, our PCC Mexico mission team will travel to Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and spend a week putting the second floor on the building that we put up in 2015 for Onnemi International Ministries.  Onnemi started using the first floor right after we built it last summer, hosting over 100 kids at VBS and putting the building into regular weekly use. They're bursting at the seams for ministry and outreach space, so this building is crucial not to just do ongoing ministry but also for ministry expansion. Each floor is 3,200 square feet and when all finished, will exponentially increase their current ministry space.

In addition to weekly services and Bible studies, they have guitar classes, sports, tutoring, arts and crafts, as well as elementary, middle school, and high school accreditation classes (ICHEA), maxing out the usable space in their current buildings. Onnemi has taken a step of faith and begun to hire teachers and staff for the community center, trusting God to provide the funds and labor to finish the building. 

Our PCC team will provide the labor and we'll be taking a special offering on June 19th and 26th during morning services to help raise the $12,000 needed to build the second story and put this crucial ministry building under roof.  You can also give directly to Onnemi for the construction at Onnemi.org/donate

 Since last year, Onnemi has continued to work on the building by installing windows, covering the roof and outside against the weather, and installing plumbing.

Since last year, Onnemi has continued to work on the building by installing windows, covering the roof and outside against the weather, and installing plumbing.

60% Around The Curve

Rebecca Miller

The initial term for our First Curve Challenge was 18 months: from January, 2015 to June, 2016. As of May 30, we are at $148,743, roughly 60% of the total $250,000 and Pastor Mark has extended the challenge until December of this year. That gives us 6 months to continue stepping out in faith and give to God. Two of the 3 goals have been met: we've raised the $20K to kickstart missions fund giving and God led us to the right piece of land to purchase for helping victims of human trafficking.

We're pursuing the third ministry goal, finding land suitable to help the homeless, as we continue to give towards the total financial goal. If you weren't part of the crowd who prayed last Sunday at the site of the former Campbell Furniture store on SR 59 in Ravenna, you missed an exciting step in the journey. The property is for sale and has the facilities and room for growth we hoped for. Whether it is indeed the property God wants us to have for homeless ministry is not clear yet and that's why we gathered to pray as a congregation.  Mr. and Mrs. Campbell saw us gathered at the property on Sunday and stopped, giving us a wonderful opportunity to share our vision for the homeless and how their property might fit into it. 

When God does lead us to purchase the right property, we need a place where we can provide a drop in center, especially in the winter months when there is no other place for a homeless person to come indoors; temporary housing, similar to what the Haven of Rest is doing in Akron, and an area to provide counseling.

Every week in June, Pastor Mark is sharing information on First Curve and details about our progress, what directions God is leading, and how far into the curve we are with these steps of faith. We know that God is leading PCC to be directly involved with these 3 ministry goals and we're moving ahead.  If you're not giving, ask God to help you make your own step of faith and give. Continue praying; about the property in Ravenna and about meeting the goal and seeing what exciting faith lesson God has for us all at the end of the Curve. 

 This is the property on SR 59 in Ravenna, the former Campbell's Furniture store and more recently, a bicycle shop. We're not sure whether this property is the one God has for us to use for homeless housing but we continue to pray and look for his guidance. 

This is the property on SR 59 in Ravenna, the former Campbell's Furniture store and more recently, a bicycle shop. We're not sure whether this property is the one God has for us to use for homeless housing but we continue to pray and look for his guidance.