Tag Archives: United Methodist Committee on Relief

Connecting Through Generations

Today as we continued our sermon series, “Connect: Building Our Life Together.” Not only did we celebrate Grandparents Day, we took a special offering for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for the victims of Hurricane Dorian. This sermon series uses building blocks to represent the different colors and ways we connect to each other and to God.

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While I acknowledge Grandparents Day is not a liturgical holiday, we chose to focus on this important relationship and ask grandparents to invite grandchildren and grandchildren to invite grandparents to church. Following the Downtown Alive service, there was lunch of pizza and salad and everyone was invited to come down and to play and to do activities together.

There was a photo booth, board games, cards to write and send to far away grandchildren or grandparents. We gave cards with suggestions on grandparenting and then these yellow cards for grandparents to ask questions of their grandchildren and the green cards that had questions for grandchildren to ask grandparents. Our grandchildren will be sent a set of the green cards so we can talk in different ways.

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My associate Rebecca Goltry Mohr did such a good job creating this very meaningful event. In worship, I spoke of the church being intentionally intergenerational. Our community is not made based on genetics or nationality or ethniticity or age or background. We are created into community or family because of God’s grace and love.

I am grateful to be a grandmother, but I am also grateful to be in community with people of all ages. You can find the whole worship service or just the sermon here.

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Draw the Circle Wide: Ripples of New Beginnings

We have had a very full day at church! This weekend it started with a “bit” of water in our basement under the sanctuary. We had already planned a church wide Sunday school and mission lunch in Meredith Hall (underneath the sanctuary.) Fortunately it was found yesterday or cleanup and a fixing of the pumps could happen before today.

Today’s scripture is a difficult one because in the 21st century it is hard to figure out how best to deal with “demon possession.” The scientific and medical understanding today is far beyond what was understood 2000 years ago. Yet, I tend to be intrigued by how God in Jesus can be encountered in this stories which were recorded so long ago. The story of “Legion” paired with the scripture reading from Galatians is a powerful reminder that Christ draws a wide circle and a greater circle then we can imagine.

The General Board of Global Ministry (GBGM) along with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) called for today to be a day of solidarity for suffering children. You can find their full statement here. We included the prayer woven into the pastoral prayer this morning.

Today’s service included two beautiful musical numbers on call and a wonderful children’s time by Pastor Rebecca. You can find the whole service or just the sermon here.

I am continually challenged in my own life in how I can Draw the Circle Wide and be part of God’s reign in Christ.

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God on the Move: Down the Road

It was a very chilly morning, but a wonderful day to gather on the fourth Sunday in Lent. This Sunday we took one of the six special offerings in the United Methodist Church, and my favorite our offering for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Not one dime from United Methodist apportionments or mission and ministry shares support this amazing ministry. Since 1940 UMCOR has been at work in disasters all over the world. This offering underwrites the administrative costs so that 100% of every gift to disaster relief goes to that disaster.

Following the 11:00 service many of our members helped put together over 100 flood buckets.

Donations came in from our congregation adn others. They will be delivered tomorrow to Omaha, Nebraska where they will go help those who are cleaning up from the terrible flooding through out the state.

God is on the move, through the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, through First United Methodist Church, and through you and me. You can find this week’s worship service here.

 

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God on the Move: Over Fences

On this third Sunday in Lent, God is on the move and people are on the move as well. This morning was the inaugural Chisholm Trail Marathon and Half Marathon. A Boston Qualifier and a brand new marathon for Wichita. the Prairie Fire Marathon which is run in October on basically the same course has thousands attend. It practically shuts down downtown and certainly affects worship. This new marathon did not seem to draw as many runners and we were not as aware of it as early as we might have been. Mostly, I think people got to church, but it can be interesting!

We had several opportunities to give to missions today. A mission lunch to help support the team going to Camp Horizon just south east of us was held and we took a special offering for United Methodist Committee on Relief for the Nebraska flooding. Our neighbors to the north are being devastated, over 74 counties and 85 cities are affected in Nebraska alone. It will be a longer term cleanup and response to help.

The gospel reading was difficult and interesting and challenging. We moved as a congregation over 1300 miles and got to Nova Scotia. I hope we don’t end up treading water this week before we get to land again on our walk to Jerusalem. You can find the whole worship service at this link. I continue to be grateful to see God moving in the world, at First Church and in me.

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Oklahoma Disaster Relief, Day Three

Today was our final day and we wanted to get as much done as possible. So after breakfast once again at Tiffany’s Restaurant we got to the work site an hour earlier than yesterday. We had already packed up everything at the Noble United Methodist Church with a plan to return and shower and then load up.

It was hot, but fortunately we had a wonderful breeze coming in and good fans. We were back at insulation and sheet rock. My job would be finishing mudding one room and do as much taping and mudding in the small bathroom and the room Rusty, Andrew and Dave were finishing up.

Rusty, Dave and Andrew went immediately to work on the room that had been started yesterday. They had to finish insulating the ceiling and then sheet rock the ceiling and the rest of the walls.

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And occasionally they had to use their heads!

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Rusty kept plugging away in tight places!

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Pat began working cleaning up some of the debris! Vacuuming and sweeping.

And me? Well, I am your “mudder”

Around 10:30 Hal came in and said to me, the heat index will hit 110, we are done at noon. I am getting those kids off the roof and you are done as well. So we worked at finishing what we could. All the sheet rock got in (except for the lower pieces in the small bathroom which was still drying. Here is the final piece going in

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I finished the ceiling off the garage, taped some and then mudded in the bathroom, mudded what I could reach where the guys were working. We were finished with what we could do by 11:30. Here is what we finished:

Tired and hot we were toast! We said good bye to Hal, and he invited us back. While there may not be a lot of these projects left, wildfires have hit western Oklahoma and there may be work there. Of course, there may be plenty to do in Eureka as well.

The AmeriCorps workers were there an hour before we were. They have been roofing in Noble for several days and have a lost a day due to rain. Their plan is to finish the roof before they have to leave on July 4. They were good about taking breaks down off the roof and drinking plenty of water. This young man had dumped a load of material that had come down form the roof and took a quick break in the wheel barrel. It was much cooler in the shade!!!

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The roof has been covered with FEMA blue tarps for a very long time. Remember that this is work still being done comes from the storms of 2015. Once they are done, another crew in coming in this weekend to finish up what we did not AND to sheet rock inside the house all the ceilings that have been water damaged. I still can not get my mind around being in a home for three years and because of lack of resources, waiting and waiting for help in recovery from devastating storms. One of the many reasons I support United Methodist Committee on Relief is because they remain after others leave. As Hal’s shirt points out:

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We obviously are not staying until it is “complete” but what a blessing to be part of the recovery and the movement toward completion. This is my second time working with the UM Disaster Response from Oklahoma. I think EVERY annual conference should come and learn from them. Their web site is filled with projects all the the volunteers and supervisors are caring, helpful and make people like me who are not all THAT handy feel like we have something to offer. Their system works and what a gift it would be to the United Methodist Church everywhere if they could learn from these people. A big shout out and thanks to Hal Wright, I would work with him any day of the week, all week long.

I won’t bore you with pictures from our lunch although I will say Kendall’s was excellent! A short three hour drive back to Wichita and we are now all at home. I can not say enough about Dave Glover’s leadership. He made the trip flow smoothly and he always reminded us “patience and flexibility!!!” I am grateful to have spent time with Rusty and Pat Allensworth. As always, I am in awe of Andrew Stover and not just because I am married to him. I am amazed by his knowledge, his ability to problem solve and work with what is at hand and build and repair and fix and measure and cut and work hand in hand with others.

What a blessing it is to be part of such a great team. Tonight, I am sore, tired and happy. God is at work in the world in marvelous and wonderful ways.

 

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Oklahoma Disaster Relief, Day One

It is hard to believe that there is still work to be done following the 2015 storms in Oklahoma. The last time I was here was in March of 2016 and we were working on homes that had been torn apart in May of 2015. The same supervisory crew is still working with volunteers to fix homes that was damaged three years ago.

This is why I LOVE United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR stays until the work is done. Other agencies are long gone. The homes I have worked on  are those homes that do not have other means in which to repair the devastating damage done by wind and rain and hail.

While it is true that there have been other hurricanes and floods and wildfires and tornadoes and windstorms since 2015, the decision to continue to work when the focus is elsewhere speaks to a strength of faith and commitment that I deeply respect. I am so glad to be working again with Hal Wright as our project manager. Hal is all the right combination of hard work, humor, and hands on instruction.

We started out early this morning. Three are from West Heights UMC: Dave Glover our team leader, Rusty Allensworth and Pat Allensworth. Andrew Stover and I are from First UMC.

36087343_10156756004689274_7775680179329826816_nWe had planned on unloading at the church once we were in Noble, Oklahoma but a communications miscue meant the church wasn’t open yet. So it was off to an early lunch at Rudy’s BBQ.

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Once lunch was done we unloaded at the Noble United Methodist Church

When we got to the home where we would be working, Hal was ready to put us to work. First up was insulation! I had forgotten how gritty, dusty and uncomfortable it can be to work with  particularly on a hot and muggy day.

After beginning to put up the insulation, it didn’t take long for us to think…..MASKS!!!

Once the insulation was up, then came time to begin to put up the sheet rock. Thank God for sheet rock lifts!!!

Works really slick!!! And so much fun cranking it!

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To the hard work or screwing in each piece!

We didn’t get the whole ceiling done. Hal called it a day at 4:00 p.m. He said he didn’t want to wear us out, plus the AmeriCorps workers would be there at 7:00 a.m. to begin roofing. So it was back to the Noble UMC for showers and out to dinner. They have a”nifty” shower trailer, I’ll post pictures tomorrow.

We ended the evening with a little competitive game of Five Crowns.

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Andrew beat us all badly on the first round. I squeaked by on the second. Now it is off to sleep before we begin again tomorrow. What an honor it is to serve and work alongside these great people!

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Flood Bucket Celebration

Sunday, September 10th, many people from all over Wichita gathered to put together flood/cleaning buckets for United Methodist Committee on Relief to take to hurricane victims. People came with individual items, with full and partial buckets and with helping hands. By Wednesday morning 165 buckets were completed. You can read the full story in the FUMC Wichita Missions Blog.

Next month there will be another opportunity for the community to gather and to fill  more buckets. Thousands will be needed. The mission director and I created a thank you video to send our gratitude out to all those who put their heart and hands and spirits into making a difference for those so devastated by the storms.

I believe that “when the storms of life are raging” God is with us, but what we do for each other, makes God’s presence real. For all who brought items, sent money, gave of time and energy and those who surrounded this project with prayer. Thank you!

 

Yesterday we loaded 165 flood buckets into the church van, trailer and a SUV and took them to the Conference Offices in Wichita where they joined 1000 other flood buckets that will be heading to UMCOR! It could not have been done without your help! Sunday approximately 100 people came to the Wilke Family Life […]

via THANK YOU!!! — FUMC Wichita Missions

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