Spring Hill Avenue UMC takes NBN Challenge to Heart
Upon hearing of Bishop Goodpaster's challenge for the Alabama - West Florida Conference to buy 10,000 nets by Annual Conference 2007, Spring Hill Avenue UMC in Mobile, Ala. got to work.
Every year during Lent the church's missions committee names a special receipient. This year, they decided to use a "Lenten Calendar" as a way to raise funds. The Nothing But Nets campaign, and the Bishop's appeal, hit the congregation close to home, as one of their own members, Janie Griffin, will soon be sent to Africa to serve as a missionary for the United Methodist Church. The church wanted to embrace Janie and support her future ministry throgh the project.
To visually remind members of the project, the missions commitee set up a cot with a net covering it in the church's fellowship hall, where no one could miss seeing it. Rev. Misty Roberts, pastor of Spring Hill Avenue, and the missions committee printed out pictures of the faces of 100 African children and put them on a poster of the continent of Africa. Each Sunday, the church would symbolically move the faces of children from the continent poster to a poster of a heart that was within the net - illustrating the lives that were being protected and the love the congregation had for others. The church has now completed it's second "heart" of 100 faces and has plans to make a third as momentum continues to build.
From an initial goal of 100 nets, the church collected $1,000 within the first two weeks of the campaign. As of March 18, the church has now collected $2,198 and is still going strong. Donations have come in from church members, visitors, business associates, and friends from other churches. The offerings from the Lenten Calendar, to be turned in on Easter Sunday, have yet to be collected to add to the total.
"Every Sunday we have a Nothing But Nets moment at our 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. services," said Rev. Roberts. "A church member reads a blurb regarding malaria, and how it is affecting so many lives and how our $10 donations make a huge impact. Our church has just gotten behind this 100 percent."
During worship this past Sunday, the kindergarten - fifth grade children presented Rev. Roberts with $100 they raised for Nothing But Nets through collecting their "good grade, allowance, and spending money."
"We're hoping that by the end of our campaign , our church will have bought over 300 nets," said Roberts. "This has been such a fun, educational, meaningful, and rewarding experience for our church."
Anyone interested in finding out more about the church's efforts is encouraged to conatct Rev. Roberts at 251.471.2461 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Pictured above are: Barbara Stiles and Evelyn Olaya. Photo courtesy of Joe Horton. Pictured in middle are: (L-R) Charles Dupree and Janie Griffin stand near the cot that has been set up to remind members of their effort to save lives with nets. Photo courtesy of Joe Horton.)