Nestled in the hills and hollows of western Cullman County in the tranquil community of Crane Hill is the newly formed Chapel Hands Ministry Center, an outreach ministry of the Livingston Chapel UMC. Opening only two months ago, the center has focused its attention and direction on providing food assistance for the needy and food assistance in an emergency. April 27 turned the western sections of Cullman County, along with numerous portions of the remainder of the state, into an emergency within an emergency.
As the sun rose across the lake on the following morning, daylight would unfold the enormous destruction that had befallen the state along with numerous others in the South East. Electricity was out, water service out, telephone service part time, and cell phone communication was spotty at best, crippling communication efforts in the area. The destruction to the immediate Crane Hill area was minimal but the adjoining areas were not as blessed.
Early on the “morning after” members of the Livingston Chapel United Methodist Church were busy checking on each other, the elderly of the community and members of the adjacent communities. The church kitchen was opened with a generator providing the power serving the only thing they could at the time… coffee and a hot dog. 24 hours later would find the ministry team operating a temporary kitchen out of the fire station in the center of the community.
For five days volunteers of the Chapel Hands Ministry Center, an outreach of the Livingston Chapel UMC, would provide three hot meals per day to anyone who wished to eat. Along with serving over 2000 meals during those five days, the center also provided meals to utility workers in the area and several families with food from the food pantry of the Center. Over fifty people rotated service at the fire hall, the center and prepared food at their houses with generators, gas burners, camper ovens and barbeque grills. Did you know biscuits can be baked on a barbeque grill?
Dr. Kenneth Graham, Pastor of Livingston Chapel UMC stated, “I am extremely impressed with the efforts of the people, their commitment to their neighbors and the way in which they lived out the image of Christ for the sake of others. The western area of Cullman County is blessed to have Chapel Hands Ministry Center and the dedicated people of Livingston Chapel to provide help in time of need. I feel blessed to be their pastor.”