Etna Green Church Offers eLearning Help To Students

Computer keyboard. (Photo:

Etna Green United Methodist Church, 131 W. Broadway St., is providing students the use of its building for eLearning.

During certain hours, students can come in and use the internet service provided by the church for eLearning.

Pastor Kenneth Cooke, of Etna Green UMC, said Triton School Corporation students have the option of going to school in-person or through eLearning. However, not all students doing eLearning may have internet access.

Cooke said the idea came from another area religious leader, Minister Jordan Ickes, of Etna Green Church of Christ. Cook said Ickes would have done it at his church, but he did not have the room at the time.

“I saw it as a clear ‘this is what God wants,’” Cooke said.

Cooke went to the church board and they approved the plan. The church then hooked up Comcast business internet and the pastor has enough megabytes to host up to 16 students at one time.

While the church started offering the service Tuesday, hours are limited as Cooke is the only person doing it right now. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Cooke said he’s been entertaining the idea of having additional hours three times a week from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Cooke is looking for volunteers to help out. All the volunteers will have their backgrounds checked. With more volunteers, Cooke will possibly be able to provide more hours. As of Thursday, no one has volunteered, but it is still new. However, he has already had one college student come in twice since his college is going online.

If anyone is interested in using the eLearning services at Etna Green UMC, Cooke said they will have to register for that day or days. Students cannot block out an entire week.

“It’s a daily thing,” he said.

Students will have to call ahead of time and let him know when they need the service.

The church will help the first 16 students in order to be fair. Cooke said the purpose was to help area students, but will help anyone in need.

For kindergarten through eighth-grade students, Cooke said the student needs to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For ninth- to 12th-grade students, a parent has to come with them the first time they visit and sign their safety policy.

The safety policy includes things such as there will be responsible social distancing, people have to bring their own laptop or iPad and they have to wear masks. Cooke also said there will be hand sanitizer and there are two clean bathrooms. Cooke said even with a parent or guardian attending with the student, there is enough room for social distancing.

Cooke said the church also has routers coming, so people can access the internet from the parking lot.

He said if a person is sick and needs the service, they can call him and use the internet service in the parking lot. He will need to know when the person is using the internet service in the parking lot in order to keep track how many are logged on to it as to not disrupt the service.

Cooke said the community has been very warm about the church providing the eLearning service. People have donated money to help cover the cost. He has received private messages about it. A flyer was also posted on Facebook and the word has spread that way.

“We’re not looking for any accolades,” he said.

Cooke said he hopes students get what they need educationally out of this program, noting Etna Green UMC just wants to help the community in their educational needs and be there to support them.

Cooke can be reached at 574-551-5018 to register for the eLearning service or to volunteer.