The Beginnings of Revive South Jersey

In the fall of 2011, members of New Hope Church in Bridgeton, NJ, approached Jon Cummings and asked him to look into the possibility of starting a ministry in Bridgeton. (Jon had served as a missionary in Mexico for the last seven years and was supported financially by the church. Various church members had recently taken a trip to visit the work in Mexico and had come back very interested in starting something in their own community. Jon and his family had moved back to the area from Mexico in the spring of 2011.) Over a period of about a month, Jon talked with various individuals from state and local agencies and with various non-profit organizations as well. These included: Albert Kelly, the mayor of Bridgeton; Nancy Gilliano, representative from DYFS; Tyrone Williams, representative from Bridgeton Public Schools; Ramon Hernandez, president of the Mexican American Association of SJ; a representative from Cornerstone Pregnancy Center and a representative from Bridge the Gap. After meeting with these individuals, Jon made a proposal to the elders of New Hope Church.

Based on that proposal, the New Hope elders indicated they were interested in starting a ministry if Jon would be willing to head it up. They talked with two other churches (Faith Church, Elmer, and Fairfield Church, Fairton), which had also supported Jon while he was in Mexico, and worked out a way to hire him part-time to work toward starting a non-profit and beginning the ministry.

As a result of the findings from the original interviews, it was decided that Revive South Jersey would focus their ministry on the diaconal needs of the members of the community through the provision of volunteers to meet such needs. The needs that were identified were tutoring, nutrition, family development, mentoring, ESL and naturalization classes and quality housing. Revive South Jersey members would seek to meet these needs, as able, and would do so with the input and participation from members from the community.