At The Lake Ministries is now accepting reservations for the 2019 season -- its first full season offering fishing/boating opportunities aboard the JoAnn M. on Lake Erie for individuals with special needs, their families and caregivers.

To see the full schedule and select a trip, visit atthelakeministries.org/findadate/. (After choosing a date, click the register button at the top of the list. The registration form will indicate the number of openings remaining on that trip.) 

The ministry was created to give those with special needs and their families opportunities to experience the beauty of God’s creation, build supportive relationships, and relax in a setting where guests feel valued and welcomed in Christ’s love. Those who are served include children and adults with autism, Down’s syndrome, physical and developmental needs, emotional challenges, disabled veterans, and assisted living residents. 

Charters set sail roughly two times a week for 20 weeks (May through September) each year. About 10-12 passengers with special needs, along with Therapeutic Support Staff (TSS) or close family members to assist them, come aboard for trips on Lake Erie or into Presque Isle Bay to fish or simply experience the wonderful natural resources the region has to offer.

Supported by the Western PA Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, which purchased the vessel, the ministry aims to be a blessing for those who often find themselves underserved in their communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. It is open to all people, whether or not they are affiliated with a United Methodist Church.  

The vessel provides a secure enclosure for all guests, with openings for fishing monitored by TSS or family members of the guests with special needs.  A quiet room, equipped with an accessible toilet facility, is provided for those who might need alone time in order to be calm before engaging in the fishing/lake experience once again.

Licensed captains pilot the vessel, ensure the safety of all on board, and care for the basic maintenance of the vessel.  Deckhands  aid the captain before, during, and after each outing. 

The vessel is maintained in accordance with the safety standards of the U.S. Coast Guard, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and with the Safe Sanctuary Policy of the United Methodist Church (requiring Criminal and Child Abuse background checks).  

For more information, and the latest updates, go to atthelakeministries.org.

You are invited to support this ministry through a donation. Use the donation page or send a check to At The Lake Ministries/WPAUMC and mail directly to the United Methodist Center, 1204 Freedom Rd., PO Box 5002, Cranberry Township, PA  16066-0002 with “ATLM Support” listed on the memo line.

Contact Rev. Rob Wilson, Director, at 814-657-4024 with any questions. 

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