Highlands UMC's Community Ministry reaches out to homeless with love and hospitality

3/5/2009

Highlands United Methodist Church at Five Points South, in downtown Birmingham regularly welcomes homeless men and women to a hospitality hour in the church fellowship hall. 

Each day, Monday through Saturday, volunteers from Highlands and other United Methodist congregations (Pinson, Canterbury, St. Marks, Cahaba and Columbiana) offer a simple breakfast; telephone and mail service; toiletries; and even a laundry service for an average of 108 chronically homeless men and women.  Many of these guests live on the streets or stay in shelters. 

Through Community Ministry, the church not only offers these basics but more importantly seeks to offer a sense of Christian love and hospitality to all who come. 

Reggie Holder, Highlands UMC Director of Ministries, says, “Understanding that many homeless individuals are often shunned and ignored by society, this vital ministry seeks to call individuals by name and offer hope, dignity and a sense of worth to all who attend.”

He explains that fresh flowers are placed on the table each Monday by a volunteer who has been bringing them for several years and each day's crew has its own unique signature -- one day pimento cheese sandwiches are brought in; on another day cheese grits and oranges appear.  Bananas are a mid-week staple and soup and sandwiches are a Friday regular.  One Saturday a month a rag tag group of volunteers, many dubious of the church, appear to make biscuits from scratch and serve what most consider to be the very best breakfast in town. 

Recently guests of Community Ministries were invited to participate in an Alpha Course and twenty-four individuals completed the course resulting in one profession of faith and two church memberships. 

During the season of Lent, Highlands is offering a study of John Wesley's Three Simple Rules and plans to offer a second Alpha Course in the Spring to Community Ministries participants. 

To learn more about Highlands' Community Ministry contact Reggie@highlandsumc.net


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