Spotlighting Our Local, National & International Outreach
Winter. Tis the season to share the gift of Love. Already, gifts for Angel Tree have been dropped off at our church. Warm clothes and other items needed to brave the cold have been collected in response to our partnership with the "For the Love" campaign. Thanks to your generous support from years past, we will be delivering food baskets, or at least grocery gift cards, again this year to our friends at Harvest Pointe. There are so many ways that we at FUMC can share the Love both now in this season and throughout the year.
Each year, three organizations are selected to receive our Christmas Offering; one each at the local, national and international level. This year, at the local level, we're helping cover the cost of a new washer and dryer for Buckhorn Retreat to replace their old ailing ones. Our members have enjoyed stays there for church retreats, so this gives us a chance to thank them. The Church World Service (CWS) program to welcome and resettle newly arriving Afghans is our choice for offering at the national level. Their nationwide network is preparing to support these families with housing, legal assistance, case management, mental health support, medical care, school enrollment and community sponsorship. You can learn more about their programs by visiting their website. Finally, Tent of Nations, championed by Reverend Leslie and described in the next article, is the choice for the international offering.
To donate to the Christmas Offering, send or drop off a check with "Christmas Offering" on the memo line. Or to donate online at the FUMC Loveland website, go to the Support FUMC tab, click the donate button and include "Christmas Offering" on the "Write a note (Optional)" line when filling out payment information. Thank you for supporting these worthy organizations.
would I do if it were my land?
(Pastor Leslie) grew up on our family farm in East Texas. For over 130 years it has
been precious land to our family. Ever since my first trip to the
Holy Land in 2018, the concept of “precious land” has taken on a
whole new meaning.
over 105 years the Nassar family has owned their farm in the Holy Land, in
what is now the West Bank. It is, literally, land flowing with milk
and honey... or, at least, olive and fruit tree and almond groves. For
much of those long years, the Nassars, Christian Palestinians and
members of the Lutheran Church, have worked diligently to legally
maintain their family home, even as the political state of nations
changed around them. Since the 1970’s, they have faced increasing
pressure from the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements that, literally,
surround them. Their orchards have been attacked and destroyed with
bulldozers and fire multiple times. Their farm has been isolated as
access roads and services have been cut off.
their challenges and legal struggles, the Nassars have chosen to
respond with peaceful resistance. In 2001, the family named their
farm Tent of Nations, and dedicated their farm and their family to
both peaceful co-existence and sustainable agriculture which they
have taught to thousands of visitors and volunteers. “We refuse to
be enemies” is the message that greets visitors on a hand-painted
boulder at the entrance to the farm.
of Nations is supported by numerous Christian, Jewish and other
religious organizations in the U.S. and Europe. In 2018, the Nassar family's Tent of
Nations was awarded the World Methodist
Council Peace Award by the United Methodist Church.
legal battle has heated up. The Nassar family has been waiting almost
a full year for what will, hopefully, be final legal acknowledgment
of the family’s ownership of the land. During the wait, this summer
they were attacked again, with fire and bulldozers. There has been so
much destroyed at the farm this year that the Nassar family and their
incredible farm of peace need our help.
need our prayers. They need our voices. They urgently need our
financial support to repair the damage that will allow them to
continue teaching the way of peace as modeled by the Prince of Peace.
Your Christmas offering to FUMC will help our brothers and sisters in
Christ at the Tent of Nations.
Other Missions News
If you've been by the church on a Friday this past couple of months, you might have seen a truck in the parking lot -- a hose hooked up to the side. You may have heard the steady thrumming of a generator emanating from the interior. Next to the truck, you might have noticed a couple of tables possibly with a laundry bag or two sitting on top.
About four years ago while watching the TV news, Pastor Woody saw a report about a mobile laundry truck operating in Denver cleaning clothes for the homeless community. Having recently retired and with experience in community outreach projects over his long tenure in Fort Collins, he decided to get in touch with the program's leaders to see if he could replicate the operation in Northern Colorado. From them, he learned about fabricators which build such things as food trucks by integrating parts into a product and he was put in touch with the fabricator that had built their laundry truck.
With that information and a plan, he approached social agencies, churches, rotary clubs, etc. in the local area to fund his project. It took about a year, but he was able to raise about one hundred thousand dollars, including a bunch of his own money. He chose to have that same fabricator outfit an old U-Haul truck. For his part, Woody purchased the appliances and delivered them to the fabricator for installation.
The truck was designed to be self-reliant. A gas generator and propane tank were installed to run the appliances and heat the dryers. The tanks installed at the rear of the truck collect the waste water. The only external connection required is to a water source.
Woody's truck has been in operation for about three years. FUMC Loveland was not the first Loveland location for operation; that goes to Zion Lutheran Church. Woody doesn't remember who from our church's Mission Committee first contacted him about moving to FUMC, but he does recall that Barry and Phyllis Wehrle were among the first volunteers at the Zion location and that Barry initially urged him to consider FUMC as a base of operation in Loveland.
Woody operates the laundry truck three days a week, which is down by a day compared to pre-pandemic. Thursdays, the truck is parked at the Loveland Library to serve the homeless community and relies on word of mouth to get the word out. For the Fort Collins and FUMC operations, he works through the school districts to find clients. He gets referrals from social workers and people at the schools who know about the families that need this service. There are currently 6 families connected to the FUMC operation which translates to about 26 loads of laundry each week. As a comparison, 40 loads at the library and 30 loads in Fort Collins are washed weekly.
Although Woody is a linchpin in the operation, he tries not to do it all himself. He relies on volunteers to greet clients, fold laundry, and even to run the machines. He has 4 volunteers working on a rotating basis trained to load and start washers and transfer clothes to the driers. In addition, he has 8 to 12 volunteers trained to work outside the truck accepting laundry, folding it once it has been cleaned and returning it to the clients. So on a normal day, he'll have one person inside operating the machines the entire day and two shifts of volunteers, morning and afternoon, folding clothes.
Even with volunteers, Woody has plenty to keep himself busy maintaining the truck ready to go. He keeps the truck clean, fills the gas and propane when needed and, of course, transports the truck to the three sites. Occasionally, he'll have to swap out hoses or clean out vents. He's proud to have come up with a solution to hose access by cutting out flaps on either side of the truck at the back of the machines which saved having to pull the machines out each time he needed to get behind them.
Compared to the initial outlay to purchase and outfit the truck, operational costs are very reasonable. Gas runs about $80 a week and propane costs about $30. He raises money to cover those expenses. People will donate the Tide Pods that he uses in the washers. Sometimes though, the repairs can be a challenge. For example, early on he had to replace the generator because it was under powered. Still, he dreams of having an electric truck, which was out of reach when this laundry truck was built, one day.
If you get the chance to talk to Woody, you'll realize that work on the laundry truck is a labor of love. He wants to do the best job for his clients. He trains his crew to ensure the clothes don't get mixed or lost because he wants his clients to trust his operation. He feels it's important that the clothes are folded, something the Denver program doesn't do, and fresh smelling when the clients pick them up. He is truly a local hero!
Early in September, the Little Free Pantry was brought to the attention of the Missions Committee. The pantry was looking for a new home so the committee took relocating it to our church under consideration. It was agreed that the idea had potential but would require a plan; we'd have to choose a location and get approval from the trustees. So the wheels were set in motion.
Here is a brief history of the pantry started by Sharon Anhorn:
The Pantry was birthed on April 15, 2020 starting out with one small cabinet. In a short period of time, we had to put bins out to hold all the food that was coming and going out. It was then I decided to install two larger cabinets. The large cabinets are retrofitted with insulation. Over time, recipients increased in numbers and I had the opportunity to visit with many of them and hear their stories. The Pantry serves all those who have slipped through the cracks of our system. No one that comes has to qualify, fill out forms or give any reason for using the Pantry. Many of the stories I hear are from unhoused clients, people finding themselves living in their cars as they wait for help from various sources, some are elderly trying to live on Social Security, some are working and can't manage on their meager income or save enough money for a deposit and first month's rent. It goes on. Right now, we are having a difficult time keeping up with the demand. I believe it is because more and more people are needing the Pantry. A great deal of food has been passing through the Pantry.
On followup a couple weeks later, we learned that other churches had been approached and were also considering moving the pantry to their premises. At that point the committee decided to pivot to a support role since the other options were more centrally located closer to downtown. It was initially a bit of a surprise and then exciting to hear in October that Trinity UMC had ultimately stepped up to adopt the pantry at their church. The pantry moved November 1st and is now operational.
The Missions Committee has committed to help the Little Free Pantry at Trinity UMC in whatever capacity we can. One way individuals can help is to drop off non-perishable food at the pantry on the south side of Trinity Church. The Facebook page devoted to chronicling the current needs and status of the pantry remains and can be found at Friends of the Pantry, Loveland.
Recently, the pantry has been renamed:
To honor the legacy of the pantry, we have officially renamed the pantry Sharon’s Little Free Pantry. Sharon started the pantry at a time when the Loveland community needed it the most. We felt it it only fitting to honor her as we continue her wonderful work. A very special thank you to Nancy Gilbert who refreshed our sign. It is amazing!!
Have you ever encountered a need here in the community or in the world at large that our church may be able to address? Have you wondered how to share that need with the church?
The Missions Committee's responsibility is to search out and evaluate needs, both local and global, elevating those that appear to be a good fit for our church and taking action to implement a plan. If you know of a mission you'd like the church to consider, you can respond to this email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Tom Thompson. To dive deeper, consider joining the Missions Committee. Contact Tom Thompson to learn more.
First United Methodist Church, Loveland, CO
533 North Grant Avenue, Loveland CO 80537 United States
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