Our "101 Bowls To Tackle Hunger" was a great success for our 6th "Souper Bowl of Caring" at Mae Edwards UMC. All 101 bowls...designed by Larry Manning/potter...were purchased as a donation for our church's support of Family Promise of Santa Rosa, Inc. We presented Family Promise a check for $460 (Super Bowl is 46 years old this year); and 200 cans of soup for the homeless children and their families. We fed the flock...with 60+ members and guests (the Girls Group Home, just around the corner from Mae Edwards, attended with chaperone and three residents) enjoying 6 varities of soup, sandwiches, yummy desserts, Super Bowl Trivia/prizes and lots of Giants/Patriots gift items. A blessed day for a blessed cause...feeding the hungry.
Blessinngs - Pastor Byrd & Paula Lou Mapoles
Guest Commentary from Sharon Yancey at the Matthew Initiative
Dear Prayer Intercessors and Friends of The Matthew Initiative:
Thanks for all of your prayers for the VBS mission trip to Pensacola, Florida last week in partnership with Sacred Tapestry UMC here in Atlanta. Again, God was so faithful and we were all blessed beyond any of our expectations . I want to share some of the highlights from last week. I will be blogging about it tonight at TheMatthewInitiative.tumblr.com. But, before I share with the public, I wanted to share with you first. Richards Memorial is my home church and sits in one of the neediest neighborhoods in Pensacola. The church was shut down two years ago and has been struggling to come back as a community center.
1. We started with a block party; when it became evident that only a few kids (8 or so) were going to attend, I just felt compelled to go out into the neighborhood to see if we could invite children to come. It has been awhile since I did anything like this. I saw a young mother going into a very rough looking house and asked if there were any children who wanted to come to our party (I had someone with me!). About 10 children came to the door. Their mom said they could come, but some of them did not have shoes. We brought them anyway to the party. Later in the afternoon one of the mom's from the house brought her preschooler and baby to the block party. She left them with us and asked if we could feed them. When we brought the kids home, we learned that the kids were living in a crack house. No electricity or air conditioning, and barely any furniture.
2. The kids were ready to come back to church the next day when we picked them up. They had a great time and did not want to leave when it was time to do so. Again, a mother brought her baby and preschooler to the first day of VBS from the house. We had gotten up to 20 kids on the second day.
3. On the second day of our three day VBS, we were met at the door by an 18 year old holding a premature baby and in charge of a 4 year old. He explained that the kids could not come, but the preschooler could. As we were putting the preschooler in the car he came out and asked if he could also come! He went through the entire day with the preschooler and ate like he was very hungry. The mom brought her preschooler and baby back and told Devon (our 18 year old friend) to tell her preschool son that he had to come home after VBS....he would not want to, but he had to come home. We think this is why the other children did not come back. Devon did not want to go back, so the group from ST just talked with him and loved on him. Both pastors from Richards also spent time with him. It was hard to bring him home, but he asked to come back the next day. The teenagers from Sacred Tapestry pooled their allowances and bought clothes, shoes, and baby formula to share with the children in the house on the last day of VBS.
4. When we came to get Devon on Thursday, our last day, he asked if his 17 year old sister could come also. She was the mother of the premature baby. When they got in the car they said that they had talked to lots of their friends and family who had children who wanted to come to VBS. We made three trips to get kids with Devon that morning, and when it was over , 50 children were there on the last day of VBS! Devon the evangelist brought them with him to VBS! Somehow the food stretched and everyone was fed. Then, parents started coming in from the neighborhood with their children and stayed with them to watch the program that just happened to be on John 3:16. I am sure we had at least 85 people there including many parents who were with their children.
5. A grandfather told us that his grandson Chance had loved the week. His dad was in prison and his mother left him 3 months before. It was the first time he had seen him smile since his mother left. A beautiful child whose smile we will never forget.
6. 10 rising 6th graders showed up on the last day. We just made them an older elementary group and they did well with a children's program, just happy to be there.
7. When VBS was over and everyone was taken home, the associate minister was in tears. He said he hoped that this could continue because he believed it could change the church like nothing else could. Then, then there was a knock on the door and it was Devon...He had walked back to the church and asked if there was a GED program he could start at the church. Just so happened, they were starting one in July and he enrolled in it. The group of moms from Sacred Tapestry brought him home again. He had connected with the church and found friends, and maybe a new beginning there.
To God be the Glory and we will keep you posted on things as theydevelop and move forward.
The Optimist Club of Perdido Bay named the Rev. Jody Kranz of Gulf Shores United Methodist Church “Citizen of the Year.”
Gulf Shores Chief Edward Delmore said that, as chaplain, Kranz is “available and has helped assist officers with families in crisis, grief counseling, and with advice in difficult situations.” To read the full article, click here.
February 19th was a beautiful spring-like Saturday in the Fitzpatrick, AL area. But the beauty wasn’t just in the weather. Emily and Jay Moore, 5- and 6-year-old brother and sister, decided the glory of the day would honor God. They setup a lemonade stand and sold it to the thirsty community enjoying unusually warm weather. The $21.50 they raised on that perfect day was lovingly placed into a sandwich bag and presented the next day in church in front of the Fitzpatrick United Methodist Congregation.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Students spend ‘Dawg’ Dollars in the Rewards Store at F.S. Ervin Elementary
By Linda McGraw Dailey
“The ‘Rewards Store’ is an incentive program to help children learn that if they work hard in school it will carry them through life. This program is teaching life long values in the lives of these children at F.S. Ervin Elementary School,” said Rev. Dawn Bond.
Students at F.S. Ervin Elementary School, grades Pre-K4 through sixth grade have the opportunity to earn ‘Dawg Dollars’, a monetary system using tickets to spend at the Rewards Store, which is located at the school. Since the mascot at F. S. Ervin Elementary is “Bulldogs,” the term ‘Dawg Dollars’ was created. The children can earn and spend the tickets in the store that is stocked with school supplies, toys, and snacks. Volunteers from the church and community operate the store once a month.
This program is designed for academics and good citizenship for all the students at F.S. Ervin Elementary. Rev. Dawn stated that Richard Bryant, principal of the school is very pleased with the difference this program is making in the students. For some students, attendance is also a requirement for earning ‘Dawg Dollars.’ The requirement for attendance is that each student must be at school and on time for two consecutive weeks.
Rev. Dawn Bond is the pastor of the Pine Hill Charge which includes 3 churches, Pine Hill United Methodist Church, Arlington United Methodist Church, and Kimbrough United Methodist Church. She’s been serving those churches for two years and is in her third year in Pine Hill. Rev. Dawn began looking in the community for a way the church could be involved in a mission project. After talking with Richard Bryant, principal at the school and with her parishioners in the United Methodist Women (UMW) they decided to create and stock a store that would create incentives for the students to excel in their daily work at school. The UMW meets monthly and takes an offering to support this project. Pine Hill United Methodist Church has a special donation for this mission every fourth Sunday. Other churches and members of the community have also gotten involved with the mission project.
A year ago, the pastor applied for a grant through the Rural Church Institute and was awarded $1,800 for their initial investment in this program. The church will hold various fundraisers to add to the stores purchases. It takes approximately $1,000 every other month to keep the store stocked.
The project has energized the congregations and given them new purpose in the community and will hopefully catch on with others seeking new ways to reach out and transform lives.
Anyone who is interested in helping with the Rewards Store program please contact Pat Armstrong, Bobbie Samac or Rev. Dawn Bond at 334-963-9804. Several volunteers are needed once a month to help with this program to make it a success.
The Pine Hill Community is reaching out to encourage the students at F.S. Ervin to be the best they can be!
Excerpts used from a previously printed article that appeared Fall of 2010 in The Wilcox Progressive Era.
How do you evangelize a community? One answer is the Centreville UMC model of inviting children, making them honored guests and teaching them. Rev. Greg Nobles has done just that. He has gathered 5 children (upper elementary) into a confirmation class that meets weekly. The children are asked as a part of the class to bring a notebook to worship and record what happens so they can talk about it in the next class. Now comes the hospitality: When the youngsters get to a point in the service where they are “stumped.” (It’s things like finding a hymn or the Creed or the Scripture Lesson that slows them up a little, everyone waits for them to catch up!)
Next will come assigning mentors to help with this and matters of faith. Volunteers will be welcome, but if no one volunteers, assignments will be made. It’s everybody’s business. AND it’s really good to hear children in the halls of Centreville Church.
The first Sunday in February was a banner day in the Heiberger (Perry County) UMC. This congregation of 70 was poised for what has become an event that is too rare—baptizing a baby. By the time the service ended they had received 6 new members. There was one adult profession of faith and baptism—the father of the infant. There was one youth baptism and profession of faith—the infant’s brother. And then, there were four transfers, one of whom was the infant’s mother. The proud pastor, Rev. Jimmy Boone, has pictures he wants to show anybody who will look.
The purpose of FUSED was to show our young people that each of the local youth groups are a part of bigger and broader church movement.
Small, but strong!
The Toxey United Methodist Church is four (yes, 4) members strong and engaged in mission in their small Choctaw County (Ala.) town. On Wednesdays at noon they host a soup lunch for as many as 24 people from the community. There is always a bowl passed throughout the crowd to receive spare change.
The change, however, is not used to pay for the meal....the church does that. The change is used to fund local mission work. Last year, they raised and distributed $350 to those in need in Toxey. This is after they have paid 100 percent of their connectional missional giving (apportionments).