Making a Difference - June 13, 2012
Aldridge receives Wesley award
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The recipient of this year's John Wesley Society Award, made to a Wesley Theological Seminary alumnus, "who exemplifies a high standard of commitment and devotion to God and the Church," is the Rev. Chip Aldridge. He is currently one of the longest serving admissions directors in theological education, said the seminary president, the Rev. David McAllister-Wilson. The award was given May 7 at the 130th graduation of Wesley Theological Seminary. Aldridge attends Dumbarton UMC in Georgetown, where he has served in many leadership positions.
Church moves outside to meet the neighbors
KENSINGTON – Like thousands of volunteers from United Methodist churches throughout the denomination observing "Change the World" weekend May 19-20, St. Paul's UMC held a "Great Day of Service" May 20. The BWC will observe Change the World in October.
After attending early worship, more than 120 members of St. Paul's fanned into the neighborhood, wearing red T-shirts with the church logo. They headed for 10 community service efforts. These included a creek cleanup and a car wash.
"The message we're sending today is that we're involved; we're concerned about our neighbors and looking for ways to help," said the Rev. Claire Matheny, associate pastor.
The carwash had a special mission, to raise funds to help a family of children. In March, a Rockville mother of six was killed in a homicide by her estranged husband, who later killed himself. The car wash volunteers decided the money they raised would go to the Heather McGuire Memorial Fund for those children.
"The church's motto is to serve the community rather than ourselves," said Morgan Baker, 17, who washed cars with his twin brother Mitchell. "That's why we're out here now."
A day set aside to pray
WASHINGTON – On the National Day of Prayer members of the Intercessory Prayer Team at Asbury UMC took prayer to the street.
They took the service outside of the church, offering quick prayers with busy people who were going to and from lunch and other destinations.
They ordered the National Day of Prayer Guide and had "I Prayed" stickers made (like the "I Voted" stickers). One member volunteered to make 100 sandwiches and others offered brown bags, cookies and bottled water. They purchased banners for the front and side lawns of the church.
The Rev. Louis Shockley Jr. sent the volunteers off with prayer on May 3. Even shy prayer team members began boldly praying with those seeking prayers and graciously approaching others, said Evelyn Brewster. "Everyone was welcome regardless of faith or religious preference."
Some members took lunch and prayers across the street for homeless men and women in the park.
By the day's end, Brewster reported, 26 prayer team members had prayed with 302 people individually or in groups, all of whom received "I Prayed" stickers; more than 1,000 prayer handouts were given away; and "Rev. Shockley found shelter for a homeless woman."
God's Foolish Ones awarded
BALTIMORE – The Rev. Emora Brannon presented the Rev. Nancy Ward with the annual "God's Foolish One" award during the MFSA-BWARM chapter dinner at the BWC Annual Conference May 31. Webb, blind since age 4, is a retiring Elder and will continue to work for justice from Grace UMC in Baltimore.
Also awarded was the organization BWARM for its courageous stands on behalf of Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-and Transgendered people. The award was presented by Marcia Monnett and accepted by BWARM's chair, Wanda Cochran, who asked for BWARM members to join her in accepting it. About a dozen clergy and laity came forward.
The Methodist Federation of Social Action presents the award each year. It is based on the verse from 1 Corinthians 1:27.
Flood prompts church to improve
PHOENIX – When heavy rains caused flooding in the lower level of Clynmalira UMC last fall, the congregation saw it as a blessing in disguise.
They took the next several months to renovate the space, used primarily for Sunday school rooms.
Volunteer members of the congregation and friends from the local community moved furniture, tore out old carpeting, painted walls and trim and installed new lighting and ceiling tiles. They installed new flooring throughout.
On Sunday, March 4, the congregation held a ribbon-cutting and service of consecration and rededication.