Metanoia is the urban ministry begun by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina to combat urban poverty in the Chicora/Cherokee community of North Charleston. Metanoia is still supported by CBF of SC through both our general budget and our State Missions Offering but is governed by its own board of local citizens.
In April of 2002, CBF of SC began the “Charleston Poverty Initiative” by hiring Urban Ministers Evelyn Oliveira and Bill Stanfield and giving them a year to listen to community residents about where and how they might serve with those in the identified areas. Within six months the couple had chosen to work with the Chicora/Cherokee neighborhood and bought a home in that community. They also joined St. Matthew Baptist Church in Chicora/Cherokee.
Visit the Metanoia site at http://www.pushingforward.org/
Young Leaders Program: The overwhelming consensus of residents was that kids in the neighborhood needed more opportunities for safe and positive environments after school. In cooperation with the neighborhood elementary school and St. Matthew Baptist Church, Metanoia began the Young Leaders Program in the Fall of 2003. The program is now operating with 33 students, from the first to the fifth grades. Chicora Elementary selects students who show leadership potential in areas such as academics or social interaction. The Young Leaders Program offers homework help, exposes children to a wide variety of career possibilities, and gives them a daily meal through the national “Kids Café” program. It also works to nurture students’ faith through a daily “Imani Circle” (Imani means faith in Swahilli) where children sing songs, pray, and say their Young Leaders Pledge.
In July of 2004 the Metanoia Board of Directors identified boosting home ownership as its number one new priority. The home ownership rate in the community is less than 25% (experts say a healthy community must have a minimum of 60% homeowners). Thanks to several important partnerships that were begun at the end of 2004, Metanoia’s Homeownership Initiative is moving ahead in three areas: preparing home buyers (by offering classes on home ownership and credit counseling), new home construction, and rehabiliation of older homes.