The Power of Partnerships

Date Posted: 1/24/2013

Although they are located more than 10 miles apart, Almeda UMC and The Harvest UMC have formed a dynamic duo to make double the difference in their communities.


New plants are not the only things sprouting at Almeda UMC. A seedling of an idea in the mind of Pastor Fran Foger has blossomed into a growing partnership with The Harvest UMC in recent months, and enthusiastic congregants have joined forces to use gardens and games to teach others about God.


“Our strategic partnership began with a call from Pastor Fran looking for a church to help them meet a specific need in her community,” notes Harvest Pastor Jeff McDowell, “but that opened up conversations and continued opportunities for the two churches to collaborate in ministry opportunities within walking distance from Almeda UMC’s campus.” Since Almeda UMC is located across the street from an elementary school where a large population of students qualify for free lunch, and next door to Noah’s House, a resident facility for developmentally challenged adults, The Harvest has eagerly partnered in a support role – beginning with the creation of a Community Garden last fall.


Two Churches Can Work Better Than One

Almeda UMC has plenty of land and The Harvest UMC has people resources like Mission team leaders Calvin and Sonja Emanuel and Kyle Buchanan, the garden project lead that researched and coordinated construction plans in preparation for the dedication ceremony last September. “We have planted three gardens that are 4ft x 20ft,” notes Almeda Pastor Fran Foger, “and The Harvest has offered to fund and build more if these initial three are successful. The first crops included lettuce, speckled beans, pinto and green beans, turnip greens, cabbage, radishes and broccoli – some of which was grown specifically for the local Food Pantry.”


Most importantly, Almeda UMC wanted the men and women of Noah’s House in an adjacent facility, to have a hands-on project they could be involved in. “Noah’s House residents love to tend the garden and grow and harvest some of their own food.  They also share some of the harvest with our local food bank,” she adds.


“The mission partnership between our two churches is in its infancy,” Jeff explains, “but it is very exciting for both of our congregations and we look forward to seeing how it continues to grow.” In addition to the garden, we teamed up to help Almeda UMC host an end-of-year party with games and fun for the students of Almeda Elementary as well as the annual Almeda UMC Halloween festival.  Adds Jeff, “This was very popular in the community and very well attended. There were games, activities and plenty of food -- all to give God the spotlight.” 


He hopes The Harvest UMC’s presence will allow Almeda to grow and continue being a vital part of their neighborhood. “This partnership has allowed over 100 Harvest UMC adults and students into hands-on ministry and offered The Harvest an opportunity to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us by being generous with others.”  


“The Almeda community will benefit tremendously from the garden for many seasons to come, and hopefully others unfamiliar with the church or Noah’s House will be interested in finding out about each organization as a result of this undertaking,” adds Pastor Foger.


Press Release (PDF)


Dedication Service (PDF)