Bridgeville church steps up for community, offering a “Sanctuary for Learning”


BRIDGEVILLE, Del. – Officials with the Union United Methodist Church in Bridgeville say they’re used to serving the community and this school year won’t be any different as they take on a new role as a Sanctuary for Learning.

“This is answering an urgent need not only of children’s education but helping families meet their basic needs,” says Pastor Bradley Schutt with Union United Methodist Church.

Many students in the Woodbridge School District will be learning through hybrid instruction this year which means parents are trying to figure out how to balance child care and work. That’s where the Union United Methodist Church comes into play.

“We do have great teachers. We’ve been able to hire wonderful retired teachers who have 25 to 30 years experience and will be great classroom teachers,” says Rita Hovermale, and administrator with Union United Methodist Church. Hovermale adds that all staff will be screened and go through background checks.

This fall, the Bridgeville Church will be transformed into a Sanctuary for Learning which is essentially a supervised safe space for kids to get their virtual school work done. “Our hope is that it will help with consistency so they will still be coming to school every day. They’ll go to their home school one week and then they’ll come to us the next week,” says Hovermale.

Administrators say they’ll be able to accommodate almost 90 kids, socially distanced through out five classrooms upstairs. They also have some fun enrichment activities planned.

“We’re going to be bringing in folks from the church who have other talents in music and art, we’re going to have some cooking classes and knitting classes and sewing classes anything that the child wants to learn to do woodworking, change a tire,” says Hovermale.

Officials say a local electrical service has even volunteered to upgrade their wiring for WiFi and technology specialists with the school district are making sure everything is squared away. They say all of this came together in about a month’s time, a true testament to the phrase “it takes a village.”

“So I really feel like this is what the Lord wants this church to be doing and to be that voice in the community to stand up and say this is what’s right and what we need to,” says Hovermale.

Administrators say they hope this inspires other faith based organizations to do something similar in the communities they serve.

The program costs $750 for the first semester, which goes through January, and $700 for a second child. They also have payment plans to help make it more affordable. Officials say people of all religious backgrounds are welcome and they still have about 40 spots open. You can contact the church office at 302-337-7409 for more information and an application.

Categories: Delaware, Local News