Location: Global Global
Partner:General Board of Global Ministries
Sager Brown was started on its current site in 1867 as a school and orphanage for African American children. It served families and children in Louisiana for more than 110 years. The school closed in 1978. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated St. Mary Parish and the community surrounding Sager Brown. But, the brick buildings of the old school still stood.
Local United Methodists cut the chains off the doors to the old buildings and invited UMCOR to use Sager Brown as a disaster center to respond to the needs of the survivors of the hurricane. And, Sager Brown rose once again as UMCOR Sager Brown.
Today, the campus serves as a Christian ministry that provides hospitality, education, and hands on mission opportunities to nearly 3,000 volunteers from across the United States each year. Volunteers come for a one- or two-week mission trip. They are provided with clean, comfortable housing; nutritious meals; and 23 acres of lush, peaceful scenery along the Bayou Teche.
Through hands-on experiences in the local community, the volunteers can learn firsthand about the effects of rural poverty, domestic violence, and southern hospitality. They can choose to work on a Hearts and Hands for Homes project, providing repairs to homes for elderly low-income citizens. Or, they may decide to assist at Chez Hope, a local center for women and children survivors of domestic violence, or the local Head start program for low-income children. Through volunteering in the local elementary school, volunteers give local children the opportunity to connect with people from places they have only had the opportunity to read about. Once a month, volunteers assist with the distribution of USDA commodities to more than 675 local low-income citizens while engaging in dialogue with persons in poverty.
Through the work in the UMCOR depot, volunteers engage in hands-on ministry that reaches out to the world. Through sewing items for various kits and through sorting, verifying, and packing relief kits, volunteers learn about the needs of people and communities they may never meet. However, what the volunteers take home with them is the passion and the knowledge that will help them engage others in their local churches and communities in hands-on ministry.
Finally, UMCOR Sager Brown is a spiritual center where volunteers are encouraged to take time during their stay to attend to their own spiritual needs. Each day, time is set aside for opportunities for group devotions, individual reflection, and prayer. Thursday nights are set aside for vespers that are planned and lead by the volunteers. Volunteers throughout the year are connected through personal notes left in dorm rooms for the next person sleeping there. And, they are encouraged to pray for those unknown persons coming after them to continue the work they started.
The roots of UMCOR Sager Brown stretch back 146 years as a ministry to African American children and families. Today, UMCOR Sager Brown reaches humankind locally, nationally, and worldwide.
Goals & Objectives
(a.) Construct a new 24-bed dorm to house volunteers in mission by Dec. 2014.
(b.) Provide a hands on mission experience to 3,000 volunteers scheduled to serve in 2014.
(c.) Respond internationally to disasters with relief supplies.
(d.) Replace one utility vehicle in 2014.
(a.) Break ground for new dorm in early 2014.
(b.) Hold a dedication ceremony for the new structure by Oct. 2014.
(c.) Host a reunion for former Sager Brown students in April 2014.