Card Parties Lead to Surprises in the Mailbox
“When my parents moved into a nursing care facility, friends and church members began sending cards to my parents and it deeply touched their lives. After a while, I wondered how many more lives we might touch and how many more people we might reach and bless in the name of Jesus,” says Jessica Johnson, coordinator a new ‘mailbox ministry’ at First UMC in Dayton, Texas.
Once a quarter, church members stay after the worship service for lunch, fellowship and the opportunity to create cards for the We Care ministry. The ministry was initially called First Connections and was designed as a caring expression to 6-10 families for the purpose of prayer and visitation. Since its formation, the ministry has grown into a congregational- wide emphasis that includes sending cards of caring to everyone.
Members gather the names and addresses of people on the prayer list, stay-at-home members, visitors and guests and send them notes on greeting cards collected from the congregation.
“This ministry is simply an extension of the hugs, handshakes, and howdy greetings expressed during worship,” says Johnson. Member Nan Eppinette adds, “We send cards of all kinds — from thank you cards, get well cards, we miss you cards to invitations to ministry events and we’re-thinking-ofand– praying-for-you cards.” Pastor Stouffer adds, “At our We Care card party this summer, we sent thank you cards to the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, because of their commitment to pray for us for 30 days. We wanted to share God’s blessing back with them!”
There are plans to have card parties to usher in fall and prepare for Advent and Christmas. “We gather about once a quarter, share a fellowship over a simple covered dish meal, and write cards until we’re finished. People participate in the We Care card parties by providing cards, postage, money for postage, food for lunch, and their time to write, address, and stamp the cards,” adds Johnson. “Our We Care card parties are one more way that we can reach out to others in the name of Jesus to fulfill our mission at First UMC Dayton where we Serve God Best by Serving Others First,” said Johnson. First UMC is located at 106 South Cleveland Street, Dayton, Texas 77535.