Fresno Metro MinistryLocal Health Care CoalitionWorking together to build a better community
Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
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Fresno Metro Ministry
Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
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Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
Fresno Metro Ministry & Local Health Care Coalition
FMM >> About Us & Fresno

About UsLocated in California's San Joaquin Valley, "Fresno Metro Ministry is a faith-based organization that works to create a more respectful, compassionate and inclusive community that promotes social and economic justice." The organization was founded in 1970 "to create ways to serve the population by solving problems and relating the Church and religious institutions to the needs of the population."

We invite you to join us as together we work cooperatively with others in the community to:
  • Increase health care access for the unserved and underserved that is appropriate medically, geographically, culturally, and linguistically and improve community health;
  • Decrease Valley hunger and malnutrition;
  • Build caring relationships and understanding across diverse cultural and religious backgrounds;
  • Support human services that strengthen families;
  • Increase the role of low-income immigrants and non-immigrants in community advocacy, empowerment, and projects;
  • and work in other ways to build a better community!
Fresno Metro Ministry

Fresno Metro Ministry's office is located in the Tower District at 1055 N. Van Ness Avenue, Suite H, Fresno, California 93728. You can reach us by phone at (559) 485-1416, Fax at (559) 485-9109, or email at



Fresno Metro Ministry is a faith-based 501c3 organization, ecumenical and interfaith. It's first mission statement proclaimed that it sought "to give evidence of Christ's Ministry by shaping the power structures to be more just, supporting the victims of those structures, and affirming existing ministries.

From this initial Christian base, Metro expanded to intentionally include other faith communities who share the faith values of love, justice, forgiveness, hope, and value for all humanity. An underlying assumption is that God loves and cares for all the people of the world, including all the people in our local community. We therefore are brothers and sisters one to another. We can encourage and support one another and our communities in all reaching their full positive potential.

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Low and Moderate Income Issues Priority

Fresno Metro Ministry primarily addresses community issues that affect low-income and middle-income residents. Current major projects include health care access, hunger and food security, building caring relationships across cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and advocating for helping human services to strengthen families and individuals.

Address Issues at Three Levels

Fresno Metro Ministry addresses community issues (1) to improve service delivery, (2) to improve public policy, and (3) to build relationships.

Organize for Action

Metro engages in community education, problem-solving, and advocacy through community networking, workshops and conferences, coalition building, task forces, Action Teams, Staff, and Board.


Membership includes those individuals, congregations, denominations, and community-based organizations who contribute financially, and/or serve on committees and task forces, volunteer, or participate in its programming.

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Board of Directors
The twenty-five member multi-cultural and multi-religious Board meets monthly. Board members are selected from congregations, denominations, community-based organizations, and the wider community*. Terms are for three years, but can be renewed. The Board holds its annual meeting in June of each year.

Tony Gonzalez, Board President
CSUF Graduate Student

Dr. Vida Samiian
Associate Dean, CSUF Arts and Humanities

Dr. Hengameh Akhtar, M.D.
Valley Children's Hospital

Member of Islamic Cultural Center

Ruthann Evans
UCSF-Fresno Family and Community Medicine Program and Wesly United Methodist Church

Jim Grant
KNXT Channel 49

Member of St. Paul Newman Center

Laurie Labbitt Perry
College Community Congregational Church

Susan Moran
Wesly United Methodist Church

Rev. Carl Robinson

Mary Ellen Guerrero Clay
Retired Teacher

Rev. Bryan Jessup
Unitarian Universalist Church

Rev. Pierre St. Fleur
Children/Family Services

Francine Oputa
CSUF Women’s Resource Alliance

Reverend Lu Parks
Clergy, United Church of Christ

Ruth Obel-Jorgenson
CSUF Social Work Graduate Student

Alan Peters
Retired Fresno County Social Services Administrator

Patricia Pickford
Retired Social Worker

Rev. Floyd Quenzer
Grace United Methodist Church

Forouz Radnejad
Fresno City College

Alice Rocha
Vanguard Public Foundation

Reverend Michael Rogers
Lutheran Church, Kerman

Dr. Jane Middleton
Chair, CSUF Department of Social Work

Patience Millrod
Member of Temple Beth Israel

Maureen Moore
Principal, Sequoia Middle School

Susan Moran
Wesly United Methodist Church

Reverend Steve Ratzlaff
Pastor, Mennonite Community Church

Dr. Terry Winant
Temple Beth Israel
CSUF Dept. of Philosiphy

*Organizations listed for identification purposes only

Funding sources include individuals, congregations, denominations, foundations, community organizations, fundraisers, and Metro programming. Individual contributions are tax-deductible in accord with I.R.S. regulations.


Rev. Walt Parry*
Executive Director

Laurie Primavera*
Health Policy Project Coordinator

Carmen Arambula*
Special Projects Coordinator

Edie Jessup*
Hunger & Nutrition Project Coordinator

Phoua Moua*
Hunger & Nutrition Project Assistant

Jeremy Hofer*
Hunger & Nutrition Project Assistant

Rev. Kenneth Smiley
Cross Cultural Clusters

Carolina Simunovic*
Environmental Health Project Coordinator

Socorro Gaeta
Environmental Health and Outreach Assistant

Carmen Pauls Wiens*
Office Manager

Ellie Stokle

Rosetta Johnson
Intern, CSUF

Ma Thao
Intern, CSUF

*Full-time staff

The Metro Ministry newsletter is published monthly when possible. Visit Contact Us and follow directions to subscribe to either paper edition or web/email edition.

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This Web Site

You can visit Fresno Metro Ministry pages and Local Health Coalition pages. A click on HUMAN RELATIONS will give you more information about Metro's Cross-Cultural Clusters, the previous work related to a Hate Violence Prevention and Response Network, and other tools for building better relationships. A click on HUMAN SERVICES/WELFARE will include information about "Making Connections Community Resource Directory", welfare reform issues, and what manner of services actually helps individuals and families. A click on HUNGER will include information about how people can help. OTHER PROJECTS & EVENTS include Fresno Lay Institute of Theology, Multi-Faith Exchange, Urban Tours, Children and Youth, Religion and Schools, and other issues. Click PUBLICATIONS for current and back copies of Metro's monthly newsletter, for information about coming events and activities. Click CONTACT US to send us an e-mail or to register for an event. BACK TO HOME takes you back to the homepage.

Metro Annual Event Calendar
  • Spring/Summer Publication of updated "Making Connections Community Resource Directory"
  • June Metro Board Annual Meeting
  • November Multi-Cultural and multi-faith Thanksgiving Festival of Choirs, the Sunday before Thanksgiving
  • December Anniversary Honoree Dinner and Program


The demise of the Fresno Area Council of Churches in 1968 and the departure of First Methodist Church from downtown in 1970 were the two primary events that led to the creation of Fresno Metro Ministry. The Fresno Area Council of Churches became a victim of community dissension over the grape strike and other issues. The Council abruptly died in 1968 as funding was pulled by supporting churches. Church Council Director W.B.Yinger indicated that he was saddened by the demise of the Council as "Fresno is right on the threshold of growing into a really sophisticated metropolitan community-and the churches have no significant role in that growing-up process". Shortly after, The First Methodist Church of Fresno was leaving its downtown location in a merger with the then Wesley Methodist Church which was located in "the suburban area north of town." The merger committee of the two congregations drew up a plan to start a "Fresno Metropolitan Ministry" to minister to the urban community that First Methodist was leaving behind. First Methodist's Associate Pastor Art Gafte was assigned the task of building the organization, and became Metro's first Director. Other congregations and denominations committed time, people, and money. Fresno Metro Ministry was intentionally organized so that it did not claim to speak on behalf of its member congregations, but rather spoke on behalf of its own Board. Likewise, its Board member are not "instructed delegates" from congregations or denominations, but rather speak for themselves so a Board consensus can more rapidly be created. Also, its Board can include community individuals.

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Some Highlights of Metro's History
During the 1970's
Trained volunteers to be change agents in various community sectors; supported interracial education; provided training on racism and institutional change and "Parenting with Justice"; began counseling service; provided Fresno power structure analysis; organized Southeast Fresno Concerned Citizens for home improvement loans; began Alternative Sentencing Program and organized Low-Income Housing Task Force. The Reverend David Mann and the Reverend Penny Mann became Metro's new Co-Directors in June of 1976.

During the 1980's
Interfaith Task Force For Valley Medical Center helped stop the sale of the County hospital, Valley Medical Center in 1982 and 1983. The Task Force supported construction of a new Level 1 Trauma Center and continuation of VMC as a teaching hospital in the late 1980's. Provided testimony to the County Board of Supervisors. Began Fresno Organizing Project in 1980, which later became its own 501c3 organization. Developed proposal for creation of and funding for City of Fresno Human Relations Commission in 1986, and supported Commission in its early work including community hearings on excessive force. Worked to improve police-community relationships. Provided leadership in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Committee.

The Hunger Task Force produced "Hidden Hunger" video, and mobilized support for food bank. The Mental Health Task Force provided "Cultural Diversity and Helping Approaches" conference, and saved $1.1 million for mental health services rather than diverting the money to an unwise move of County mental health offices. Convalescent Task Force provided workshops and engaged eight congregations in Convalescent Home ministry. The Church Refugee Ministry network formed in 1987, and Fresno Lay Institute of Theology in 1985. Homeless Task Force developed helping relationships between congregations and homeless shelter residents. Thanksgiving Festival of Choirs began in 1985. The Reverend Walt Parry began as Executive Director in March, 1985.

During the 1990's
Provided leadership in Fresno Unified School District's School Climate subcommittee with a focus upon cultural understanding and conflict resolution training and mechanisms. Supported Peace and Nuclear Age curriculum and expansion of Family Life Education in high schools. Metro's Youth Committee sponsored "Churches At Risk Reaching Children and Youth At Risk" with three partnership models. Derailed attempts to de-fund City of Fresno Human Relations Commission and City Ombudsman. Continued participation in M.L.K. Unity Committee events. Developed Cross-Cultural Cluster curriculum, and organized clusters in schools, congregations, and community.

Began annual "Making Connections Community Resource Directory". Secured and distributed $160,000 for freeze relief. The Mental Health Task Force sponsored conferences for beginning and maintaining support groups. Began Hate Violence Prevention and Response Network. Held four major community conferences on Welfare Reform. Addressed religion and schools issues. Began Local Health Coalition which addressed issues related to a Regional Medical Center, Managed-Care Medi-Cal, and the contract between Fresno County and Community Medical Centers. The Local Health Care Coalition began building a foundation for multi-sectored public private planning for health care delivery in the Fresno County area with its monthly Roundtables. The Coalition continues the Roundtables and has three 4 Action Teams that work toward increasing access to appropriate health care.

Over the years, Metro moved away from forming spin-off organizations and has since moved towards building or joining coalitions or task forces that address the issues.

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