Methodists help community with service

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
In Rowan County and across the nation, Saturday was a day of caring.
The United Methodist Church’s Impact Day, a day of volunteer service, sent hundreds of local parishioners into neighborhoods for a variety of projects.
Some cleaned and refurbished schools, while others gathered donated goods for local charities.
Barbi Jones, a coordinator of Impact Day in the UMC’s Salisbury District, said individual churches chose projects based on the needs they saw.
Some chose to help those in need, such as Cold Springs UMC member Brandon Helms.
He suffered a back injury and has been out of work for some time.
At 8 a.m., a group of about 11 men gathered in the morning chill at Helms’ Cabarrus County home.
They brought ladders, tools and the supplies needed to put a new roof on Helms’ home.
“It’s a practical application of my faith,” said Pastor Neil Haynes of Cold Springs UMC.
Haynes praised his church members for their willingness to take on projects large and small.
In November, he said, members will take up tools again, heading to the North Carolina coast to help repair hurricane-damaged homes.
Helms said he was humbled by the turnout and the help as he tries to get back on his feet.
“It shows how much they care,” he said.
A few miles away, in China Grove, members of Mt. Carmel UMC sorted through coats and jackets that will be given to those who need them this winter.
Pastor Jerry Hagler said the community had exceeded expectations, delivering 101 coats and jackets in response to a call for donations three weeks ago.
Ten volunteers helped deliver and sort the coats and jackets to the Main Street Mission on Saturday morning, Hagler said.
Hagler, who is a member of the board of the Main Street Mission, said those coats and jackets will be distributed this month.
Volunteer Aly Morris helped with the delivery and sorting, along with her brother, Travis.
“It’s nice to see that people want to give,” she said. “I like helping people. I feel bad when I think about other people who don’t have as much, and I like to give.”
Travis said that, to him, helping others was a way to follow Jesus’ example of giving.
Members of Harmony UMC in Concord involved themselves in a number of projects.
Some crocheted prayer shawls, which Pastor Virginia Herron said would be blessed at this morning’s worship service and delivered this week to a local nursing home.
Others helped pick up trash in the Brown Mill neighborhood.
And still other members baked cakes for the Opportunity House ministry.
The cakes are part of the outreach to the needy who come to Opportunity House’s weekly meal and worship service at Midway UMC in Kannapolis.
Herron said as many as 200 people a week receive a free meal at Opportunity House.
The cakes, baked by local church members, go to those who have a birthday that week.
“This gift is not only a celebration of their birthday. It’s feeding them spiritually,” Herron said.
“Some of these people say they’ve never had a birthday cake in their lives.”
“Being part of this neighborhood and attending this church go hand in hand,” said Harmony UMC member Donna Gray.
She said it was important for the church to do good in the community, especially for those who might not have a church to attend.
Throughout the district, Jones said, participation and turnout were good.
“I would say that it was a fantastic day,” Jones said. “We feel like we were able to accomplish a lot of good in the community.”
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.