St. Andrew Presbyterian Church is now a satellite office for COMPASS.
The Congregational Outreach Program of Assistance and Social Service has existed since 1982. The Rev. Phyllis A. Heffner of St. Andrew, 1450 E. Dublin-Granville Road, has described it as a "hand up, not handout" effort aimed at the working poor.
COMPASS is a partnership of 20 area churches and is based out of Broad Street Presbyterian Church.
The Broad Street Presbyterian website said COMPASS provides services to prevent homelessness and stall evictions, allowing families to remain in their homes. Clients receive partial rental assistance or utility assistance. COMPASS also refers clients to other agencies in the community.
St. Andrew will serve as a COMPASS satellite from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, said church member Susan Mild of Clintonville. The service began on April 19.
Mild, chairwoman of the member care team, said 11 people from the congregation have undergone training with COMPASS personnel at Broad Street Presbyterian.
"We're very, very hopeful," she said. "We're really excited about this. We're looking at this not as a way to increase membership but as a way to serve our community."
The decision to operate as a satellite comes from church members who want to become more involved with the neighborhood that surrounds the building, said Dean Eucker, a Newark resident and St. Andrew member.
"I say this tongue in cheek, but we've not been a community church," said Eucker, co-chair of the COMPASS committee. "We have membership that comes from all over. We've never done anything on a person-to-person basis with the community."
"It's not the community church that it used to be," said Sally Rogers of Clintonville, the other COMPASS co-chair. "We felt we needed to do more in the community, which has changed since St. Andrew was built."
Eucker said what attracts him to COMPASS is its focus on working people, "people who are making an effort to help themselves."
"Handout programs are fine, they're needed, but they don't fix anything," he said.
COMPASS volunteers at St. Andrew don't expect the program to catch on right away, Rogers said.
"In this day and age, everyone seems to want everything really fast, but this is not going to be that type of process," she said. "It's getting us more aware of the people we're going to help ... It's a slow development, but I think it's going to be a really good process."