Once a month, members of Newton Ministerial Alliance assemble to pray, connect with each other and become informed about resources available to residents.

"We meet together to pray and share what's happening in our own lives and in the community," said Rachel Miller, pastor at Shalom Mennonite Church and president of Newton Ministerial Alliance.

Learning of opportunities to serve around Newton, outside of church buildings, is a big part of Newton Ministerial Alliance's purpose.

"When I first moved here, I went to (a Newton Ministerial Alliance meeting) that was about volunteer chaplaincy — they needed more volunteer chaplains at Newton Medical Center," Miller said. "I thought, 'Oh, I can do that!' "

Jay Hawes, pastor at Newton Nazarene Church, said being involved with Newton Ministerial Alliance gave him the chance to connect with other pastors after he moved here a few years ago. It has also helped him feel that he is not alone in his vocation.

"It's easy to get discouraged. When you work with other church (pastors), you can rally around each other. Some of us are doing well and can help someone who is struggling," Hawes said. "Pastors understand what pastors are going through, that helps out a lot."

Miller echoed her appreciation for being able to come together with other pastors to share personal needs and pray for each other and the community.

"I think it's a great network. You meet people you wouldn't know otherwise," Miller agreed.

Miller also sees the value in churches working together to keep others informed about what is happening in the areas of the city they serve.

"I think part of our job as faith leaders is paying attention to the needs of our community and then trying to figure out what we each can do to support the community," Miller said.

"I think it's important that we recognize that we're not just one church, but we're part of a bigger church," Hawes said. "Working together, we can accomplish more right here in the city and make it a better place. ... Together, we can make a great impact instead of just a good one."

Besides their monthly meetings, Newton Ministerial Alliance holds combined church services and contributes together to Harvey County Salvation Army's annual Harvest of Love food and funding drive.

Coordinating benevolence efforts between churches and Harvey County Salvation Army has slowed the instances of individuals trying to defraud churches for financial assistance.

"Now, all of us point them to one central location that logs it, tracks who is coming and has gotten help," Hawes said.

A Newton Ministerial Alliance membership costs $25 per year. For more information about the Newton Ministerial Alliance, call Miller at 316-283-7395.

"I would encourage other pastors to attend the meetings and consider joining," Miller said. "Show up once, see if you like it, so that we can better serve the community."