Spotlighting Our Local, National & International Outreach
Summer is upon us!! The days are longer and it is getting hotter. The grills are uncovered and vacation plans are in the works. Unfortunately, need doesn't take a vacation and as people travel, volunteer schedules get disrupted. As a community of faith which follows the teachings to help our neighbors, here are a few suggestions where you can volunteer to help fill the gaps.
Our own Mission Starts at Home helps church members with projects around the house. Join Julie Monroe's email list to receive info about projects in which you can choose to participate. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Kitchen provides meals to anyone in need. Volunteer the third Thursday or Friday of the month to help serve dinner in the evening. Contact Anita Williams, 970-689-0019.
Meals on Wheels of Loveland needs subs for kitchen staff and drivers. MoW seeks to "nourish and enrich the lives of homebound individuals with nutritious meals and daily contact by caring volunteers". Visit: lovelandmealsonwheels.org.
Besides these, there are many more organizations in our community that will be needing volunteers this summer, so if you have some spare time, get in the mix ... you'll find some pretty good company. Have a great summer!
By the Numbers
This year's Easter Offering raised a whopping $10,766! That works out to $3,588.66 distributed to each of three recipients: Truscott Elementary, UMCOR "fire bucket" supplies, and Pura Vida (don't know where the extra 2 cents went ;-). Truscott also received an additional $3000 matching donation from an anonymous donor. On top of that, you raised $850 sponsoring students for the Tiger Stride fundraiser. That makes a total of $7,438.66 delivered to our neighbor, Truscott Elementary.
As our Missions Chairperson, Barry Wehrle, put it in an email:
WOW!!! Thanks to God, to our generous congregation and to the folks who gave the matching gift for Truscott. ... I'm really pleased as we all should be.
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING TRUSCOTT!
Pastor Lee and Rev. Tom Thompson, as a member of FUMC’s Missions/Social Concerns Committee, were thrilled to deliver a check from FUMC to Truscott Elementary’s Principal, Karen Hanford. The check was in the amount of $7,438.66, which visibly moved Principal Hanford! She said it is just the amount they are short to purchase a new sign they’ve been wanting to install in order to improve communication with their families. God does work in mysterious (and not so mysterious) ways! The funds were a combination of 1/3 of the Easter offering, an anonymous match of that amount, and the sponsorships of students for Truscott’s Tiger Stride walk-a-thon fundraiser on May 19. THANK YOU for your generous giving and support of these students! It is a blessing to be able to make a difference in the lives of these young people, the teachers and parents.
(reprinted without permission from The Window, May 29, 2022)
Thanks from Truscott
Back at the end of February, members of the Missions Committee delivered supplies requested by teachers at Truscott Elementary. Apparently among that list, there was a request for an electric pencil sharpener for a 5th grade class. That class was moved to write thank you cards, some of which are displayed here, to FUMC (or FMC for short :-) for the sorely needed sharpener. Thank you all for supporting our church and community!!
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In April of last year, Rev. Steve proposed a program to provide the homeless access to showers at our church. A few members of the Missions Committee took up the mantle by first meeting with staff members, Doug and Francine, at 137 Homeless Connection to see how they managed their shower program. They have one shower that they schedule at 15 minute intervals allowing them to provide up to 16 showers a day, five days a week to the homeless. Yet there is plenty of need beyond what they can provide. For one, only men can use the showers at their facility. Clearly, Steve recognized the limit to amenities available to the homeless community.
The subcommittee put together a proposal to add the church showers into the mix. They took into consideration schedule, supplies, safety & security and much more. The plan was to recruit and train volunteers to greet clients, provide supplies and manage access to the showers. With 137 as a partner, recruits could gain experience at their facility, then 137 could start scheduling clients for showers at our church on a trial basis once or twice a week.
Not long after putting together the initial bones of the proposal, Loveland Salvation Army was contacted about our shower ministry. They had people in need of showers and proposed implementing a voucher system with guest information and schedule. Considering the advantages of having Salvation Army as gatekeeper, the proposal was modified to use their voucher system exclusively.
The proposal was submitted to the Trustees who took it under consideration. They pushed back on aspects of the proposal, but even after modifications, it was ultimately rejected out of personal safety concerns. This Missions Committee effort to help the homeless community was a strikeout.
Winters in Colorado can be treacherous especially for the unhoused. As a matter of fact, anecdotal evidence tells of someone loosing their toes this past winter to the snow and cold. To address sheltering the homeless and in response to the COVID outbreak, the City of Loveland had contracted Homeward Alliance to create shelters. These shelters located on city property were operating nightly up until recently when the COVID State of Emergency lapsed.
Around February of this year, Homeward Alliance approached FUMC with a plan to provide shelter to the unhoused for next winter beginning in November. Their plan would be to enlist 6-8 churches to open their doors for a week in the winter on a rotating basis. Homeward Alliance would provide the staff to manage the program and a security guard on the church premises when the 30 to 35 clients spent the night. Bedding would be provided and most likely stored during the day in a trailer located on church property. Community Kitchen would provide meals for the clients. In other words, there would be no requirement for any volunteers from the church to participate in this program, but our church would be welcome to provide optional services such as meals or Bible study.
When their plan was presented to the Missions Committee, many felt this was a no-brainer. Our church has previous experience providing shelter to unhoused families through the Angel House organization. Certainly, there were questions about personal safety, both with building access and keeping track of the clients, and there were concerns about drug paraphernalia being smuggled into the church, so it was suggested that client access be limited to Coy Hall. When the Trustees took a serious look at city requirements for participation, the fact that Coy Hall doesn't have a fire suppression system ended up putting a dagger in the program ... yet another strikeout.
But, to continue the baseball metaphor, the game is far from over, it's still the early innings ... and there are 162 games in the season ... and there's always next year (OK, you get it). We will continue to look for opportunities to aid and support the homeless community. And we're not alone. There are churches, community organizations and government entities pulling together to end homelessness.
On April 28th, there was a rally hosted by Together Colorado at First United Presbyterian Church to shine a light on the various efforts in our community to address homelessness. Speakers included Loveland Mayor Jackie Marsh, Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally and state Rep. Andrew Boesenecker discussing various projects and legislation in the works addressing affordable housing, expanding protections to mobile home owners in a heated market, sheltering youth and much more. Special guest, Miguel Wheeler, spoke of his journey out of homelessness as he felt the hand of God guiding him to join AA and to eventually start his own outreach ministry to help others dealing with homelessness. It's gratifying to know that here in Loveland there is a large community touched by God to help those in less fortunate circumstances to better their lives.
To learn more about Together Colorado, visit their website by clicking the button below.
It appears that FUMC's long standing annual tradition of volunteering as a group with Habitat for Humanity may be coming to an end. The faith build scheduled for June 4th saw only one signup and that was in the last week before the build. Participation has been falling off for at least the past 4 years. To cope, our team size commitment was reduced a few years ago from ten to five volunteers. Although we met our commitment for the five build days scheduled last year, a small cadre of regulars made up much of that volunteer workforce.
This is by no means an FUMC only phenomenon. Other churches are finding it hard to find volunteers to fill out their commitments. Not unexpectedly, some FUMC volunteers are starting to age out as time takes it's toll on the body. But on the flip side, there's little to no backfill for these volunteers from a younger generation.
So at this point in time, there are no plans for future FUMC build teams. You're certainly encouraged to volunteer individually with Habitat for Humanity or support them financially. They are an excellent organization providing a valuable service to the community.
First United Methodist Church
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