Members from our church as well as the community met on Sunday evening, January 21, 2018 to discuss human trafficking in our county and what we can do about it. In its various forms, it amounts to slavery in our times! More than 75% of the victims in the US were born and raised here. Approximately 1 million men, women and children are victims. Approximately $40 billion a year is generated from human slave trading.
Mr. Steve Kramer from the Michigan State Police described how prevalent it is, how easily it occurs and how vigilant we need to be. If you know someone is in immediate danger, call 911. The national human trafficking hotline is always available to request help or find services: 1-888-373-7888.
Ms. Amy Rouleau described her personal story as well as the plans to construct a Restoration Place to house and help heal up to 12 girls at a time. They have purchased the land and are about half-way to obtaining enough funds to build the home. We are encouraged to assist in their fund-raising efforts by: (a) donating your loose change in a jam jar and returning it to our church by February 25 or (b) making a donation via their website (www.RestorationPlace.org) or via mail (P.O. Box 37, Swartz Creek, MI 48473) or in person.
Mrs. Polly Sheppard, an elder in our church and on numerous relevant boards in Genesee County, described the many facets of the efforts in Genesee County to address this huge problem. Polly described how we can be part of the solution. Please let Polly know how you would be willing to help.
Our members shared their Christmas Joy with the community and helped the Salvation Army raise some money so that more local families could enjoy Christmas. Our members smiled, sang Christmas carols and greeted shoppers at VG’s on Silver Lake Parkway as well as at WalMart on Saturday, December 9. We were again impressed with the generosity of our community through their donations to the red kettle. The mission committee wants to sincerely thank the many volunteers for making a difference in our community!
13 youth participated in various service projects on Saturday, November 18. We had hoped to help clear brush at a congregant’s home, but the weather did not cooperate. Instead, we cleaned classrooms at church! Below are the projects we accomplished:
- Youth served alongside adults at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, sorting vegetables, dairy products including eggs, and breads and sweets. The 3 boys did a fantastic job of bringing out pallets of food, removing them after being sorted, wrapping, weighing and marking each pallet, and then returning the pallet to the storage area. The girls and adults sorted and re-boxed all the items. With all hands on deck, we finished early and had a lot of fun!
- Youth cleaned and organized all toys in the nursery and preschool rooms. This included dunking smaller toys in bleach water, wiping down all bigger toys and furniture, cleaning out all storage bins, and cleaning the floor mat under the loft unit in the preschool room. They also began sorting craft items in the art room.
- Youth packaged 107 bags of feminine products for the Faith & Femininity mission. Each bag consisted of 14 tampons, 14 pads, 7 pantyliners, symptoms of toxic shock, and a scripture verse. We have placed another order for feminine products with the $450 still on hand, and will be having another packing night sometime in December. The bags are being delivered to Carriage Town Ministries.
Great weather and a great appointment schedule made for another great blood drive! The Red Cross really kept the process moving very efficiently all day. We want to thank the 47 people who showed up to donate their blood, the 45 people who were able to donate, the Boy Scouts who helped set up and tear down, the members who made cookies and the members who hosted the drive on Saturday, December 2. The downtown was very busy on Saturday with the JingleFest events.
The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan helps provide food to the hungry in 22 counties in the eastern half of Michigan. Over 19% of the people in eastern Michigan are food insecure. There are 400 partner agencies that distribute their food. 98% of the money raised goes toward services.
Through your pledges to our church’s program, the Mission Committee makes donations to the Food Bank. In addition, our members have supported their Empty Bowls fund raiser in September as well as volunteering our hands to assist them in sorting food for distribution. On November 18, 20 volunteers from our church spent the morning sorting food for distribution to the partner agencies. The Mission Committee wants to thank our members for their numerous methods of supporting the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan!
A group of 10 volunteers from our church assisted building a Habitat home on Saturday, October 28, 2017. Our group built and painted some shelves, caulked nail holes and swept the home. In addition, one church family provided coffee and donuts for our early morning gathering while another church family provided our lunch. We had a very rewarding time and also met the new homeowner Becky.
Becky had spoken to our congregation during a worship minute for mission this past summer. She is very excited about how well the house is looking and is eager to move in!
Over 100 people from Fenton churches showed up to walk in the 2017 CROP Walk on October 1 including about twenty people from our church. This was Fenton’s 37th annual walk for the Fenton, Lake Fenton, Linden and Holly area. Walkers proceeded past various stations within Bush Park designed to raise hunger awareness as well as around downtown Fenton. Alternately, participants could sit and rock at one location or could do Jazzercise at another.
Approximately $14,000 is raised each year through this walk to “end hunger one step at a time.” One-fourth of the money raised will be used to support three local hunger programs: FISH (Food Pantry) in Linden, St. Jude’s School Lunch Program and the Fenton UMC Food Bank.
On Saturday, September 17, twenty-two volunteers from our church had a wonderful time assisting Adopt-a-Pet on a perfect fall day. We socialized their animals, cleaned the kennels and rooms, covered a stairway wall with protective plastic sheeting, planted a tree, cleared brush from the side of their drive, weeded their planting areas and cut down a large pine tree. Since 2006, Adopt-a-Pet has found homes for over 3000 cats and dogs and funded veterinary care for some very sick animals. Their objective is “to find loving homes for homeless dogs and cats as well as assist people in the community to find homes for their personal animals.”
We are happy to report that our Read & Feed program was a great success for our sixth year! We registered 40 second and third grade readers from area elementary schools who had been identified as needing assistance with reading. We hoped to “jump start” their fall schooling by providing them with six mornings of reading experiences as well as food for breakfast and lunch.
With the larger number of students, we split them into four groups of 10 and added a fourth experience making each experience only 1/2 hour long. We think this worked out much better for everyone! We used most of our church to have the students read to us or to trained dogs, to have us read to them, to play word games, to sing songs and play games using music, to create various arts and craft projects, and to have lots of fun! We used our new kitchen to serve them breakfast and lunch the days they were here. We sent food home for them and their siblings for the remainder of the two weeks. We also sent them home with books that were contributed by the congregation. On the last day, the deacons sent home our back-to-school bookbags and new school clothes with the families that had indicated a need/interest.
Parents were overwhelmingly positive about the program. All of the students were excited and enthused to participate. The reading specialists at the various elementary schools have indicated that we are making a positive difference!
We want to thank the MANY volunteers from our church and St. Jude’s who made this outreach possible. Thank you to our congregation for their support of our mission budget that enables this type of outreach. We also want to thank Home Depot for supplying craft projects as well as volunteers to assist in their assembly. We want to thank Jet’s Pizza and Uncle Ray’s Dairyland for contributing the food for our final lunch; it was a huge hit with the students!!
Five young ladies from youth group were assisted by Pastor Robbie, Tina Ritchie, Bobby Clark and Jenny Gibb in leading worship on Sunday, August 6. The theme was “All Together Now” from the Massanetta Middle School Conference based on Galatians 3:28-29. To open worship, they dressed the communion table, then invited everyone into worship by singing a cappella “Spirit, Fall On Us.” Youth in middle school shared what they learned at the Massanetta Conference and youth in high school shared experiences and lessons from the Feet-to-Faith mission trip in Ohio. With a depth beyond their ages, they talked about what it means to be together and yet not the same, loving everyone as Christ loves us.
After worship the girls also went shopping to purchase clothes for our Deacon’s Back-to-School project. They shopped for five children with money donated by church members. This is the second year members of youth group have had the opportunity to shop for this project, learning how to be good stewards of money while purchasing fashionable and quality items for children in the Fenton area.
Below are pictures of 4 of the girls who participated showing the posters used in worship (the backsides say “Jew, Greek, slave, free, male, female), and the girls after our shopping trip to Target.