If you live in the Buffalo area, you’re no stranger to the word “Renaissance”. It’s something that has become the main descriptor for the city. Between the development of the Harbor Center, the building of the medical campus or the changes made to Canalside, it’s easy to see how much the city has changed over the past few years. But, in the midst of the great things that are happening, there seems to be a spot where the Renaissance hasn’t quite reached: the East Side of Buffalo.
Long before the formation of the Church Of WNY, the East side had a program that provided biblical education that was both affordable and accessible. Pastoral and Church Ministry Program (In partnership with Houghton College) or PCMP allowed individuals to receive an associates degree while attending at a campus in downtown Buffalo. But, after some time, there had to be cuts made to programs at the school and PCMP was one of them.
Since then, there has been a desire to have a program similar to PCMP. Although there are other things being offered, there’s really nothing that combines affordability, accessibility and quality, while at the same time being accredited. As this continued to be an apparent need, a group formed from the Church Of WNY worked together to see how that need can be met and what that would look like. That was the beginning of the Urban Ministry Advancement Program or UMAP.
UMAP is an initiative of the Church of WNY in collaboration with Houghton College, offering high quality, affordable, accessible, and fully accredited biblical education.This program leads to an associate’s degree in Bible/theology and ministry for further development in ministry and service, and is designed to address a range of interests from pastors, other church workers and passionate Christians.
Over the course of receiving a degree from UMAP, individuals will take twenty, three credit hour courses at a cost of $150 per credit hour. When compared to most Christian Universities, there would be an estimated savings of over $17,000 by the time a degree has been received. Along with that savings, there is also opportunity for individuals to receive scholarships and financial aid.
One of the major focuses when creating UMAP was accessibility. This program was designed first and foremost for those on the East side of Buffalo and in order to keep it accessible, there had to be a way for them to attend classes on the East side. Out of the twenty courses that would be taken for this degree, twelve can be taken at the East Side Campus, which is housed by Saving Grace Ministries on Bailey Avenue. For the remaining eight courses, there is the option to take them online, or directly at Houghton’s Campus.
The hope for UMAP is that it would provide an opportunity for those seeking to obtain formal, biblical education, to get it. More than that, the hope is to see all of WNY saturated with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you want find out more about UMAP, listen to the Saturation Podcast