When Life Gives You Lemons - Be Creative
All of us have heard the adage about making lemonade out of the lemons life can hand down. To date, the year of 2011 has been a challenge to the ministry of the Church. A challenge yes – but not an insurmountable obstacle that cannot be overcome.
United Methodist churches have gone the extra mile in order to continue to offer help and support to one another and their neighbors. New ideas have given way to the creation of new ministries that offer assistance to others:
Last Blast, a community outreach event, was held mid-August as an activity of First UMC Orange in the Southeast District that celebrates both kids going back to school and summer vacation coming to a close.
A community block party has been held each year since 2007. Though the event involves the entire community, the main focus is the children.
In addition to the inflatables, games, Bingo for adults, free food, snow cones, ice cream sandwiches, and door prizes, 24 community resource groups offered information about their services. This year, free socks and underwear were given out to 252 registered children. Free haircuts were also given to young and old alike. More than 100 families attended. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, one of the resource support groups, fingerprinted 53 children for the National Registry.
Members of the church pooled their time, services, resources and hard work on this project. Despite the hot weather, a grand time was had by all.
Cookie Gifting Outreach
Each year, the Prayer Ministry of John Wesley UMC in Houston, Texas sponsors a Cookie Gifting Outreach.
This year, 3,754 cookies were wrapped with a prayer note attached and delivered to teachers and administrative staff at Houston schools. Many hands and many hearts made it possible to show prayerful support to those who are on the “front line” with our children.
Grace UMC Mentoring and Tutoring Program
Grace Academy is a mentoring and tutoring ministry of Grace UMC in Huntsville, Texas that is in partnership with other community organizations. It offers tutoring and mentoring throughout the school year beginning with third graders and up. The community involvement, including students from Sam Houston State University, retired teachers, and coaches, have helped children prepare for test taking, math challenges, reading and writing while building self worth and confidence in their areas of giftedness while working with them in thir areas of weaknesses.
Since the implementation of the program, student’s attitudes and willingness to learn have improved. The program also provides a light supper for the children. Tutoring takes place weekly on Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Prayers are offered for the children, teachers, parents and the administrators throughout the school year. At the beginning of the school year Grace UMC participates in a school supply drive and helps as needed throughout the year.
The church is also involved in SHAC-Student Health Advisory Council an entity required by law for every independent school district. The church’s goal is to help establish healthy behaviors during childhood. Grace Academy staff recommends workable solutions in many areas that affect the mental and physical being of every student. Problems such as bullying, diet, lack of physical exercise and transmitted sexual diseases among the very young population are addressed through participation with the churches, parents, administrators, students and the schools.