More than 1,000 Hoosier United Methodists fanned out across Muncie on a sunny, warm June 27 Saturday afternoon for a day of mission and outreach.
The Rev. David Arnold of Muncie College Avenue UMC, which served as one of the host churches for the West District, has been part of the planning team. “The congregation feels privileged to serve in this manner,” said Arnold, who also is expecting a variety of follow-up from community members and agencies.
Ann Newton of Greencastle Gobin Memorial UMC was excited about the day of mission. “I do a lot of mission projects. Action is an important part,” said Newton. “The way to do church is different than what most people think. This is quite a witness.”
Rev. Colin Cress, pastor at Freedom and Worthington UMCs, was spreading mulch at A Better Way, a domestic violence shelter and transitional housing program.
“I really think it is a good thing to demonstrate as a conference body what we should do. Church is more than just Sunday morning,” said Cress. “This is the work of the church.”
Christina Kelley of A Better Way spent part of her time explaining the various services they offer, as well as gathering tools for the 10 volunteers from Terre Haute, Bloomington, Indianapolis West and Vincennes districts.
“I was really excited because we don’t frequently get adults as volunteers,” said Kelley. “We often don’t have time to get to the outside and yard work.”
Based out of High Street UMC in downtown Muncie, the Rev. Greg Pimlott of Mohawk UMC in the Central District worked with Rev. David Neuen of Muncie High Street UMC picking up trash on the West End of downtown.
“There’s no limits or bounds to what your work as a minister is,” said Pimlott as they were walking down the sidewalks and alleys hauling trash bags, also adding that it was fun to do a project like this.
Pimlott also added that having a hands-on project such as picking up trash or participating in a prayer walk or other community project affirms some of the other mission projects and passions that the Mohawk church and other churches are active with.
“By actually seeing people live it out gives the church a new vitality. It helps build trust,” said Neuen. “It should become part of our life. Think about what you could do all year.”
Joan Scrivnor of Muncie Avondale UMC served as a host coordinator at Southview Elementary School, which hosted a prayer walk and a community clean up. “Everyone seemed to have fun,” said Scrivnor.
The Rev. John Keller of Patronville UMC, the Rev. Honna Schloss of the Lynnville-Spurgeon Charge and Rapid Watters of Muncie Avondale UMC went on a prayer walk, had stopped at the edge of an industrial area and had decided to start praying for the community when something happened.
“A car pulled up and we heard the doors close and the next thing we know, a man was in our circle and he needed prayer. He thanked us for praying,” said Keller.
“We just put our arms around him,” said Schloss. “He knew the power of God. It sill gives me goose bumps.”
This was Watters first prayer walk and he did not know what to expect. “I felt this hand on my shoulder and I heard someone crying,” said Watters. “God told me to start another prayer for the gentleman who I was embracing.”
After talking to the man for a while, he returned to his car and left.
“It was just an experience I will never forget,” said Watters.