The Blue Walk and Dinner is a movement and activity the La Porte First UMC community has been involved in for about 10 years. The leadership of our church, under the direction of Debbie Bremer and Nina Salyer, have led this effort to bring awareness for the safety of children in our community as well as around Indiana.
Each year, many children are killed through child abuse situations. 58 young people were killed this past year alone. We try to raise awareness in the community by encouraging our neighbors to call the authorities when they suspect a case of child neglect or abuse. Indiana is one of the states where a person can make a call anonymously. Our motto is, “If you see something, say something.”
Each spring, our church leadership holds an organized march to the county courthouse lawn with many different signs encouraging support for our cause. Once we get to the courthouse, we have several community leaders speak on the topic of child abuse prevention and awareness.
Following our march to the courthouse, we all gather at the church around a delicious meal. About half of those attending the march and dinner are new to the church, which is a great outreach opportunity for our church and community. As the church pastor, it allows me to interact with folks from around our community who I would not otherwise meet.
Also in the summer, our town holds a fourth of July parade and LaPorte First UMC has a beautiful float with the theme of Child Abuse Prevention. We invite children to sit on the large float while adults walk to the side holding signs about child abuse prevention. Everyone wears a blue t-shirt made specifically for this occasion. This is a great involvement for our church in connection with the community, to supply a beautiful float for the city Fourth of July Parade.
We look forward to connecting with the Dunebrook organization to seek out other ways to connect and use this unique opportunity to serve our community and state. As the pastor, I often take the Sunday before the Blue Walk to preach on the importance of good parenting, the blessing of children, patience, and self-control. It has been a great mission focus for the ministry of our local church.
Written by Rev. Bob Vale, Senior Pastor at LaPorte First UMC