Mayor’s Breakfast – Thursday, November 16, 2023 at 7:30 am


October 27, 2023 – Springfield OH: Urban Light Ministries is hosting the first Springfield Mayor’s Breakfast, which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 a.m. in the ballroom of the Courtyard by Marriott Springfield Downtown, 100 S. Fountain Ave.

The event will honor retiring Mayor Warren Copeland for his many years of service and welcome incoming Mayor Rob Rue, who is running unopposed, as he prepares to lead the city into a new era. During the event, musical entertainment will be provided by local musician St. James. Clergy representing the Simunye pastors group will pray blessings over the city and will offer thanksgiving for the progress made over the last decade.

“As with every city, our town has challenges to overcome. But it is good to pause at least once per year to reflect upon and give thanks for our many blessings,” said Rev. Eli Williams, Urban Light Ministries president and co-founder. “What better time is there than as we approach Thanksgiving?”

The event’s sponsors include: The City of Springfield, Mercy Health, Modern Woodmen of America, Littleton and Rue Funeral Home & Crematory, Simunye, The Nehemiah Foundation, Realtor Britney Dodds, Stuckey & Troutwine CPAs, The Turner Foundation, Greater Springfield Partnership, The Conscious Connect CDC, ProStratus, Attorney Mark F. Roberts, Arrowhead Tax Service and Clark State College. Event sponsorships are still available at the $300, $600, $1,500 and $2,000 levels. For more information, call 937-727-4891.

Tickets are $30 and are available online at until Nov. 8.

Winners of 2023 Good Dad Fatherhood Awards Announcement

Springfield, Ohio, June 16, 2023:  The winners of the annual Good Dad Awards have been announced and will be awarded this Saturday, June 17 at the Springfield Juneteenth/Fatherfest event at 2:00 pm. The event is held annually at the Gammon House at 620 Piqua Place, Springfield, Ohio and the award is sponsored by Urban Light Ministries.

The aim of the Good Dad Award is to recognize the significant role fathers play in their children’s well-being and development and to raise awareness of the value of fathers in the family and the community. It identifies and honors outstanding fathers for their exceptional commitment to raising their children or for their exemplary contribution to the development of children in the community.

The Good Dad Fatherhood Award nominees meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates an outstanding commitment to raising his children
  • Is an exemplary father
  • Is an inspirational role-model who, as a father, has triumphed over adversity
  • Contributes to the development and well-being of children in the community
  • Provides significant leadership and inspiration to other fathers

The 2023 winners are:  John Applin, Corey Burns, Demetrius Carter, Carter Click, James Cosper, Kareem Crossley, Caleb Cunningham, Ross Cunningham, Nate Fleming, Jerome Flowers, Austin Floyd, Tyler Gray, Scott Griffith, Vincent Hall, Jr., Vincent Hall, III, Harold Howard, Gyasi Jones, Wayne Meyers, Chochi Ongaki, Eudes Padilla, Clay Pahlau, Drew Randolph, James Rayburn, Antonio Reid, Dwight Roe, Jr., Timothy Showmaker, Ralph St. James, Richard W. Stokes, Michael Stroder, Andrew Stump, Tray Thomas, James B. Upshaw, Hugh Watts, and Thomas White.

Board Retreat Brings Time for Transition and Transformation

The Urban Light Ministries Board met in October for a time of reflection and confirmation.   The purpose was to review the strategic direction of the ministry and through prayerful discernment, outline the plans for the upcoming year. The challenge is to leverage the deep and rich history of Urban Light Ministries while effectively transitioning and expanding the impact it can make on building stronger fathers for the benefit of their children, families, churches, and communities. 

The consensus was to continue to focus the efforts on addressing the impact of father absence through biblically-based fatherhood programming.  An updated research white paper was developed and published that supports the positive impact these programs can have.  Three new initiatives addressing this objective include:

  • Launching a new online fatherhood community called “Fathering Strong” in January – the website has been developed and already has over 50 fathers without an official launch
  • Begin bringing communities of fathers and experts together through the release of a new podcast hosted by Pastor Eli with the official release in April
  • Bring the community of fatherhood practitioners, program leaders, and fathers together through the offering of a live and virtual fatherhood conference that is planned for May.

The Sonshine Clubs and the work of enriching the lives of children through in-school children’s ministries will transition through supporting and assisting the launch of LifeWise Academies which provide released time bible based character education to elementary-age youth during school hours. 

I feel the board retreat brought a sense of renewed direction that will allow Urban Light Ministries to continue reaching more fathers and families. The direction is to focus resources on building the fatherhood initiatives and continue to support children’s ministries through collaboration, not duplication.

Click here to review more details on the strategic direction of the ministry or go to

This ministry is supported 100% from private donation. Please consider giving to help Urban Light continue this important work.

Bruce Stapleton, Board Chairman

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Operation Christmas Blessings

Imagine. Christmas is coming.

The kids are excited.  You have lost your home for some reason. You and your family are temporarily housed in a congregant shelter or a hotel room. Christmas is coming, and you should be shopping for gifts. You are working, but not making enough to afford rent and utilities. Christmas is coming. You are dreading facing your family on Christmas morning. Imagine.

It is heartbreaking for a homeless father or mother to have to face Christmas without the means to buy his or her children things the kids really need and want. A day that should be a joyous commemoration of our Messiah’s first coming as a precious gift wrapped in swaddling cloths. Instead, there is only embarrassment, shame, and disappointment.

Register to help a local family

For the second Christmas season, Urban Light Ministries is providing a way for people of goodwill to help homeless families. Here is how it works. Register at our website to adopt a homeless family. You will receive the child(ren)’s wish list. On it will be the names, genders, ages, and sizes of the children. Purchase, wrap, and label the gifts. Deliver the gifts to Sheltered, Inc.  ULM’s Care-It’s for Kids fund can reimburse you up to $100 per child from the Jeff Wyler Charity Invitational Golf Scramble and other donors. You get to bless a family anonymously. Kids get a Christmas to remember. Dan and/or mom get to be the heroes. Family bonds are strengthened.

Register to adopt a family today!

If you don’t have time to shop for the families please consider a donation to support this program.

Thank you!

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Join us for the Second Annual Simunye Carol Sing on December 11th

Fatherhood Honor Goes National

Fatherhood honor goes national with new name for award

Urban Light Ministries wants to shine a light on good dads everywhere.

By Kermit Rowe
Contributing Writer


Urban Light Ministries is celebrating a decade of honoring local fathers and father figures by renaming and expanding its popular annual fatherhood award.

Starting this year, the honor will be known as The Good Dad Award and has been expanded to include fathers and father figures everywhere through online nominations, not just local ones.

Relatives and friends are encouraged to nominate awesome fathers and father figures at no charge at

Award winners will receive a free personalized, printable certificate and congratulatory letter via email.

“With father absence being a global crisis, we take seriously our responsibility to go ‘into all the world,’ ” said ULM founder and President Eli Williams. “The internet enables us to expand our reach nationally and internationally.

“Some communities do not have a local fatherhood award,” he continued. “The Good Dad Award can serve as any community’s award by organizing a local event for a public awards presentation on Father’s Day weekend or any other time.”

In Clark County, all local Good Dad Award winners will be presented their certificates June 19 at 1 p.m. during the annual Juneteenth/ FatherFest. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Gammon House Museum, 620 Piqua Place, in Springfield. Festivities start with a 5K walk/run at 8 a.m.; beginning at 10 a.m. there will be exhibits, tours, food, resource tents and more. A Value Of Black Fathers discussion group will kick the week off on June 12 at 10 a.m. at COhatch.

This a part of ULM’s revamped approach to recognizing fathers.

“One of our mission’s original strategies has been to encourage men to be the best dads they can be for their children, families and communities,”

Williams said. “It is one of the most important responsibilities a man has in life. The Good Dad Award is a way to counter the negative images of fathers that are so pervasive in entertainment.

It’s a way to assist others in obeying the biblical command to honor fathers.”

The aim of The Good Dad Award is to recognize the crucial role fathers play in their children’s well-being and development, and to raise awareness of the value of fathers in their families and in their communities. The award identifies and honors outstanding fathers for their exceptional commitment to raising their children and/or for their exemplary contributions to the development of children in their communities.

In 2011, Springfield-based Urban Light Ministries announced a new fatherhood award called My Dad ROCKS. The name of the award changed in 2014 to the Clark County Community Fatherhood Awards. Eligibility expanded to include father figures of every type, and nominators no longer needed to be the minor child of the nominee. In 2020, a record 23 fathers received the award.

“Any male serving in a father-type role needs encouragement and should be honored, as he may be the only dad some children and youth have,” Williams said. “This includes grandfathers and other male relatives, mentors, coaches, teachers and others who are important to children.”

ULM’s resources for fathers includes its free online introduction to healthy fatherhood course POPS 101. It is available in English and Spanish and online at

Available are a video series for fathers, a downloadable dads devotional, the book and study guide “Father Love: The Powerful Resource Every Dad Needs” by Williams, and other materials. ULM also provides fatherhood workshops and courses for use by churches, organizations and conferences. 

Click here to go to Springfield News and Sun Article

New Father Love Discussion Group


When: Weekly on Tuesdays | 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM | August 3 through October 26, 2021

Where: COhatch Heritage Room, Downtown Springfield


Facilitated conversation on fatherhood using the Bible-based book Father Love – The Powerful Resource Every Child Needs by Eli Williams.  Each participant receives a copy of the book and Study Guide.  Thesessions lead dads through a deeper dive into male-style parenting and helps men build bonds with other fathers for fellowship and peer mentoring.


  • Thirteen (13) one-hour sessions
  • Interactive Power Point® Presentations
  • Stimulating and encouraging conversations
  • Challenging Action Steps toward growing from good to great


  • Others


  • Book
  • Study Guide

About the Author and Discussion Facilitator

Eli Williams is a husband, father, grandfather and ordained minister. He is president and co-founder of Urban Light Ministries ( which provides a weekly after school program serving nearly 800 children annually.  ULM operates a fatherhood program that since 2006 has annually impacted over 500 dads and their kids. Learn more at

Registration ends July 27, 2021