(Marsha Littleton) - A cohort of volunteers from Clanton, Prattville, Valley and Montgomery United Methodist Churches traveled to the mountains of southeastern Kentucky July 27-31 to assist members of Middle Fork UMC in replacing the roof on a church building and to lead Vacation Bible School at Jack’s Creek UMC in a nearby community.
The communities of Middle Fork and Jack’s Creek are within the Red Bird Missionary Conference (RBMC)
of the United Methodist Church, which is forging a partnership with the Alabama-West Florida Conference to learn from and support each other through prayer, preaching in each other’s pulpits, sharing ideas for development and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The congregations of Middle Fork and Jack’s Creek UMCs welcomed the visitors to a fellowship supper and worship service on Tuesday evening. The food was plentiful, the fellowship was warm, and the music overflowed with the Spirit. Visitors enjoyed another worship service on Wednesday night, as well.
The “flatlanders” from Alabama were led by the Rev. Rob West
, senior pastor of Clanton FUMC
. West, along with Jamie Barkley of Montgomery FUMC
and Jamie Andrews of Destiny Church in Valley, Alabama, (two seriously good roofers); and Bill Felio of Prattville FUMC
and Elizabeth Byrd of Clanton FUMC
(two seriously good helpers), applied a new metal roof to the “bunkhouse” at Middle Fork. The weather was scorching, but with an occasional break to wade in the ice-cold creek behind the church, the crew completed the job in two days.
Nine members of CFUMC’s youth group, DV8, led by Candace Hight, traveled to Jack’s Creek each day to offer the “Everest” VBS program to the children in that area. Ali Brewer, Will Harris, Cody and Haley Herron, Cole and Brandon Hight, Rianna McGuire, Gage Minor and Cason Smith led the lessons and music and served snacks.
Elizabeth Byrd also met with the folks at the Red Bird Mission office to share ideas for marketing the local arts and crafts in other areas.
The CFUMC bus was driven by the intrepid Ken Baldwin, who not only navigated the highway from Clanton to Middle Fork, but also drove the DV8 troops to and from Jack’s Creek each day. He even found a spot on a hilltop on that route where the young people could catch a cell signal to have a few precious minutes on their phones to talk with parents and friends back home, as there was no cell service anywhere else in the area.
Tom Cuthbert and Marsha Littleton fed the hungry bunch three meals each day, and Pastor Rob grilled some fine ribs on Thursday night to finish the week’s menu. The crew also celebrated the birthdays of Rianna McGuire and Tom Cuthbert, who both spent their special days serving the mission.
All in all, the assignment was accomplished with much dedication, hard work, Christian fellowship, and laughter galore.
In early September, Pastor Ted Brock of Middle Fork UMC and Pastor Chuck Jack of Jack’s Creek UMC came to Clanton to explore ways to share methods of ministry and service. After a cruise on Lake Mitchell and a fellowship meal, the two Kentuckians spoke to members of the Clanton congregation about their churches, the work going on there, and possible means of mutual support. To complete the evening, Pastor Ted played guitar and shared several gospel songs with the group.
These partnerships will continue to flourish with your prayers and interest. Thanks be to God for His faithfulness.