Reaching out – with clean laundry


Petroleum United Methodist Church, located just off Highway 1 in Petroleum, Ind., has been a visible part of its community since 1917. Last year saw the congregation seeking new ways to reach out to their neighbors through the Fruitful Congregation Journey. Having faced many challenges of their own over the years, PUMC’s new mission is to go beyond stereotypical means of service to effect lasting changes for Christ in very practical ways. The most recent method of serving the community was to install a brand, new washer and dryer in the church storage room.

Built and equipped to be both a place of weekly worship AND to operate as an emergency shelter during times of bad weather (there is a spacious shower stall in both the men’s and women’s restrooms as well as an emergency generator to provide electricity), PUMC now boasts a large load washer and dryer that not only cleans kitchen towels and custodian rags, but has also been offered to families in the community as a place to wash their dirty laundry. The recent harsh winter weather left several families without electricity or running water for weeks at a time. When they learned of the need, church members provided building keys to each family allowing them to use the kitchen, bathroom, and now the laundry facilities as they had time and need. Grateful mothers came throughout the week to catch up on the never-ending baskets of laundry and to relax – if they chose to do so – by preparing a hot meal in the kitchen while waiting for their clothes to wash and dry.

Petroleum’s congregation of some 68 members may not be large, but their influence reaches miles outside its walls to touch the lives of people who have a need, and that need is being met and they witness real love in action. Love so real, it even does your laundry!

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