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!
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.
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.
On Saturday, July 15, our church supported the Bastille Day Race in downtown Fenton. Each year, this race has generated over $18,000 for the Genesee County Habitat for Humanity chapter and brought thousands of visitors into Fenton. The 15k race began at 7:45 am while the 5k run/walk began at 8:00 am. Both races were wrapping up by 10:00 am. Food and entertainment were available behind city hall at the gazebo where the race results were also posted.
Our church supplied fourteen volunteers who assisted with traffic control at 6 neighborhood corners. Thank you to the volunteers for assisting in this worthwhile cause. Everyone had a great time!
We want to thank the 40 people who showed up to donate their blood, the 39 people who were able to donate, the Boy Scouts for assisting in setting up and packing up the equipment, the members who made cookies and the members who hosted the drive on Saturday, June 3. The new registration process worked very well so that no one had to wait long and the Red Cross could staff our blood drive correctly. We are grateful that we can host such an important life-preserving event for our community! We use some of our local mission money to support the Red Cross programs.
Tri-County Christmas In Action performed significant home repairs to two houses (one in Linden and one in Gaines) on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Eleven adults and two youth volunteers from our church worked at the house in Linden. Our team helped to paint the outside of the home, do yard work, bury a sump pump discharge line, repair the garage door, build a handicapped ramp to the side door and rebuild the railing to the front door, and install three grab bars inside the house. The homeowner was very appreciative of our efforts and interest.
Our mission budget enables us to contribute to the Christmas In Action work each year. In recognition of our giving $500 each year, we have had the name of our church on the back of the t-shirt that is given to each volunteer. Our stewardship efforts are making a positive difference in God’s world!