Small church issues challenge for school kits

10/18/2011

Holland's Chapel UMC in Scottsboro is a very small church with an average attendance of 24. As North Alabama Annual Conference 2011 was planned, our church was invited to send hand towels for health kits. We did this, remembering that in the past our UMW had assembled health kits. But we never really understood the meaning of the project. Our conference delegate returned home and shared with us the need for mission work at a warehouse in Decatur and the term UMCOR came up. We made a road trip to Decatur and spent the day helping assemble health kits and our guys helped move refrigerators. I was very impressed with the operation I saw there, and felt very connected to the rest of the world and proud to be a tiny part of the UMC connection. I began following UMCOR on Facebook and still keep up with what this group is doing.

On the UMCOR web site I studied needs and talked to my local UMW group composed of women from Holland's Chapel and Hollywood UMCs. In July we were preparing to send our children back to school, and the school kits seemed like the project to take on at the time. While we bought school supplies for our children, we purchased extras for the project. We picked a Sunday afternoon in August to have a sewing party. One person cut, others pressed, turned, sewed and stuffed. We had a fun time of working and sharing. While we originally had no set goal, it quickly became a goal to have 31 school kits ready to present when our District Superintendent, Rev. Dale Cohen, came to charge conference on October 9. This goal did come to reality. As our little church donated one kit per member to UMCOR, we challenge other United Methodist Churches to support this mission, one item per member.

The delivery of the kits is another story. On Sunday, I agreed to get the kits to their destination whether it be Decatur of Sager Brown. By Wednesday I was caught up with my office work a little, and looked up the the clock to see 11:15 a.m. I went to the computer and googled "UMCOR Decatur" and up came the page with contact info for the facility. I called and talked with Rev. Ray Crump. I explained what I had and asked for shipping instructions. He said "I will get them today" and I replied "I have to work and cannot go to Decatur today." He was actually leaving Decatur, crossing the bridge as we talked. He was passing through Scottsboro on his way to Oak Ridge, Tenn. I left the office, went to the church, boxed up the kits, and met him in Scottsboro at 12:30 p.m. If God was not in that, I don't know any other way to explain it.

This has been a very exciting and rewarding experience. I know it is not the biggest contribution ever made, but I imagine few have had more heart and soul poured into them, and we know our efforts will have made a difference for 31 children somewhere. We hope other churches in the conference will accept our challenge of providing one school kit per member.


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