How we started
Twenty years ago, the Winston Salem District (now the Yadkin Valley District) of the United Methodist Church responded to God’s call to be in a new ministry with residents of southeast Winston Salem. Offering our prayers and trusting God’s promises, a team of diverse representatives from District churches sought God’s guidance during a year long process of study and discernment. Rev. Wannamaker Hardin, the District Superintendent, “called” a District Conference with delegates from each church attending to approve the plan for a new mission outreach located on Sprague Street. Through collaboration between the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, the District, and the General Board of Global Ministries, Open Arms Community of the United Methodist Church was launched in May, 2000.
The primary mission of Open Arms has been to share the love, hope, and joy of Christ by offering programs on-site to mitigate poverty, low educational achievement, substance abuse, and societal prejudice against marginalized people and groups. Thousands of meals have been served to program participants during Scouts, Bible Singing, Tutoring, Reading Group, Bible Study in Spanish, AA in Spanish, and special events. Close connections and trust with neighborhood families has allowed representatives of Open Arms to stand alongside hurting people in countless times of extreme grief and trauma.