Thursday, November 25, 2010

2010 Charge Conference

We had our 2010 Charge Conference at Anderson Memorial UMC in Gretna. The Mount Airy Charge was three of the nine churches represented at the conference. Our group mission project for the whole group was to collect non-perishable foods for the Northern Pittsylvania County Food Bank. The food bank had a truck waiting as we were arriving, so we could drop off our things before going into the meeting.
Larry Davies, the District Superintendent of the Lynchburg District, was meeting members of the district as they arrived.
Larry has a way of telling stories to make a point. This time he called folks up to the front to make his point. It was a call for the churches to be more intentional on reaching out to those outside the church and even those who may be antagonistic to the church.
Each church or charge was asked to give a report of where their church or churches are in ministry. The following is the report I read for the three churches of the Mount Airy Charge.

We have emphasized our call to be in ministry to Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth. The three churches are and have always been very good at watching over and caring for the members of their congregations, whether they are ill, homebound, or in nursing homes. Republican Grove UMC has a tradition of delivering bags of groceries to area shut-ins during the Christmas season. Prayer time on Sunday often becomes reporting time on conditions and visits. That is their Jerusalem.
They also reach and support organizations in the community the minister to people. All three churches supported area charities such as; the Halifax and Pittsylvania County food banks, The 640 Rescue Squad, God’s Pit Crew, the Society of Saint Andrew, and Mill Stone Meals on Wheels. The congregation of Saint Andrews UMC started a “Community Help Fund”, through which they donated over $500 to area families and individuals in need. They raise funds for the help Fund by selling hot dogs and drinks at a Pumpkin Patch owned by one of the members. This is their Judea. The United Methodist Women, with only three members, supports a child in the Dominican Republic and collects item for a prison ministry. Members of all three churches came together for a Haiti Support Service. We collected two truckloads of items to deliver to “Gleaning for the World” to be sent to Haiti. They also raised $400 that was sent to long term missionaries serving in Haiti. They also supported the Lynchburg District in its effort with “Stop Hunger Now” to pack over 100,000 rice packs to be sent to Haiti. This was their work for the uttermost parts of the earth. The Mount Airy Charge has expanded its vision and its call well beyond the doors of its churches.

In our bulletin each week it starts by saying that “We’re small enough to know you and large enough to love you” and it ends by stating “You are now entering the mission field”. The churches of the Mount Airy Charge have taken both of these statements to heart and continue in service to their church, their community, and their world.

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