Members of the First United Methodist Church have a heart for mission work, member Judy Turner said. Several projects have been tackled since the first of the year.
During the spring semester of this school year “fruit fillers” have been sent home with elementary students who receive free or reduced lunches. They are small bags with fresh fruit inside, usually an apple and orange. The youth prepare the bags during Wednesday night activities. Then they are delivered by church members to participating elementary schools on Friday.
The sanctuary at the Central Kansas Dream Center received a fresh coat of paint from First UMC volunteers, just in time for the first graduation ceremony held in the facility. The volunteers also helped install a fire suppression sprinkler system to help bring the 90-year-old school building to necessary residential safety codes, thereby enabling the Dream Center to safely house more residents.
Most recently, during spring break, a group of 15 members ranging from teenagers to senior citizens traveled to Gallup, N.M., for a week’s work there. It included construction work and outdoor landscaping at a women’s shelter, refinishing a floor in a dining hall where homeless people are fed, preparing a noon meal for indigent persons and conducting Bible school nightly for children at a nearby Navajo reservation.
“I will never take for granted all that I have again after this experience,” claimed team member Lindsey Barton.
The Rev. Lennie Maxwell, pastor at First UMC, said the mission work will continue.
“At First we are beginning to understand that Jesus was serious when He said ‘Go into all the world.’” the Rev. Maxwell explained. “That is why we are planning three events this spring and summer we are calling Church without Walls.” The events will be held on three Sundays, May 18, June 22 and Aug. 10, and will involve the whole congregation in several service activities in the Great Bend area.
“We want to engage our community in a positive way, and so we invite everyone who believes church should be more than one hour on Sunday to come and join us,” he added.