Mission work with local impact
Members of our church and others from seven United Methodist congregations in the Greater Portland area spent a recent Saturday morning attempting to brighten lives and pass along some sincere fellowship.
On May 19, United Methodist churches from around the world went out into their communities as a means of “living out Christ’s ideals in today’s world” for a Change the World weekend initiative. In 2011, 2,000 UMC events in 15 countries took place for Change the World weekend. Statistics are still being gathered for this year’s missions.
For the United Methodist churches in the Greater Portland area, groups branched out on a variety of mission projects, including bringing flowers and the warmth of companionship to the South Portland Nursing Home.
At the nursing home, Mark and Margaret Braun also brought their dog Piper, adding to the entourage of good will. Natalie Charles, Norma Wadman, Matt Braun and Rev. Ruth Morrison from our church and Sara Ewing-Merrill and her two daughters, Rachel and Kathryn, from the Hope Gate Way UMC were also part of the nursing home visit.
Also from our church, Stephen Bither and Chris DeSantis were part of other projects around the Portland area, including taking bags of cookies with “You Are Loved” messages to residents of low-income housing in downtown Portland, making fleece blankets for a family shelter, cleaning up the cemetery at the First United Methodist Church in South Portland and doing a clothing swap at the Elm Street UMC in South Portland as part of neighborhood outreach.
From all of the participating UMC churches in Greater Portland, about 50 people gathered at Hope Gate Way to start the day, singing some hymns and hearing a message from the church’s pastor, Allen Ewing-Merrill.
At the South Portland Nursing Home, our volunteers had face-to-face moments of caring with some of the residents, including sitting on the floor to have a warm conversation with a woman whose memory was failing and another conversation with a young woman who had a stroke six years ago and is still struggling to recover.