By Aaron Weaver and Carrie McGuffin
DECATUR, Ga. — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partner ministries Touching Miami with Love in Miami, Fla., and Open House Ministries in Homestead, Fla., announced today that they will merge to expand their reach, serving children and youth from marginalized neighborhoods in South Florida.
The merger comes as TML begins its 20th year of ministry. It was launched in 1994 as CBF and CBF of Florida began to mission do work in inner-city Miami. TML is led by CBF field personnel Jason and Angel Pittman and seeks to empower children, youth and families in the Overtown community of Miami, providing life skills classes, entrepreneurial projects, creative arts, computer classes, tutoring and recreation through after-school and summer programs.
Open House Ministries, led by CBF field personnel Wanda Ashworth-Valencia, will become the Homestead Site of TML. OHM is entering its 22nd year of work as a holistic neighborhood center that offers hope and healing to the Homestead community through after-school and summer programs, soccer teams, community gardening, Bible study, worship opportunities and a 12-step addiction program for youth.
Jason Pittman, executive director of Touching Miami with Love, expressed his excitement about the expanded opportunities that the merger will provide.
“Our two organizations have a long history of providing very similar services in two of the most underserved and marginalized neighborhoods in South Florida,” Pittman said. “We believe this merger will provide both of our organizations with an expanded outreach, and we’re excited to see what opportunities the Lord brings as we journey together.”
“This new season of partnership will even enable Open House Ministries to offer services to more children and youth, and enhance the enrichment activities provided for our students,” Ashworth-Valencia said. “We expect to share best practices to further refine and improve our ministries.”
CBF of Florida Coordinator Ray Johnson praised the two ministries, which have received substantial financial volunteer support from CBF of Florida over the years.
“This merger combined the energy and creativity of the two centers’ directors, Wanda Ashworth-Valencia at Open House Ministries, and Jason and Angel Pittman at Touching Miami with Love,” Johnson said. “I promise they will form together a ministry force that will powerfully and positively impact South Florida.”
CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter shared his passion for this strategic collaboration between the two organizations, emphasizing that the merger will strengthen their collective impact.
“More than the sum of its parts, this collaboration multiplies the capacity of each organization by combining talented staffs and accessing resources in South Florida that would otherwise be lost,” said Porter, who served as executive director of TML from 2001-2005. “Built on the sacrificial gifts of Cooperative Baptists and many, many others, these ministries celebrate God’s light in communities too often derided for darkness.”
CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.