As most are aware, Northwood has been considering entering into a partnership with COSA, a ministry that works with parolees who have been previously convicted of a sexual crime. Their goal is to support newly released individuals in their task of integrating with the community and leading responsible, productive, and accountable lives. Having been discussed by the Board, this ministry opportunity was shared on Sundays September 22 & 29. Last Sunday, on October 6, we offered two dialogue circles after church to get a clear sense of whether our congregation felt a call to move ahead in this area.
The result of our conversations is a clear feeling of wanting support for the work of this ministry in the community. However, we also discovered this is an extremely sensitive area for many of our members. Our adoption of COSA as a direct part of our ministry does pose a serious threat to the sense of peace and sanctuary that we have established, and seek to maintain, as a gathered community here at Northwood. We will therefore not move forward with COSA as a direct part of our ministry.
In consideration of this, our decision is to act as a liaison for this important work and those members and friends of Northwood who are interested in supporting its work. Future meetings for a COSA circle will not occur at Northwood; however, we will encourage any interested people to offer themselves to this ministry as they feel so called (much like our encouragement of our members who share their ministry with Hospice, Ubuntu Agogos, and other organizations).
If you would be interested in being connected with COSA for further information, training and the formation of a support circle for a parolee, please be in touch with Rev. Scott over the coming week. Thank you for your participation and vital input.