Woodstock United Methodist’s 42 members have a big heart for mission.
By Klay S. Williams*
July 19, 2012 — Landon Taylor, manager of Church Relations for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), was warmly greeted when he visited Woodstock United Methodist Church in Woodstock, Alabama. The 42 members of the mission-minded congregation had but one question for Taylor:
“How can we help?”
Led by Rev. Keith Barton, the congregation holds what they call a Spiritual Spotlight during worship service on the second Sunday of each month. They invite a guest speaker to the “spotlight” to give a talk on a topic of Christian interest and concern. On a recent occasion, they thought it would be a great idea to extend an invitation to UMCOR.
Rev. Barton shared, “When we think of mission work, our minds wander to ‘faraway places with strange-sounding names,’ but often not to our own home state. In the deadly tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011, the destruction [in Alabama] was devastating. The need was great, and the mission field was vast.”
UMCOR was there to support recovery efforts by the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church. Rev. Barton felt it was his responsibility to provide his small band of congregants with a greater sense of disaster awareness; thus, the introduction to the work of UMCOR.
Woodstock UMC’s mission is rooted in a faith and tradition they believe not only extends to but is the essence of global mission work. “Unlike the fig tree Jesus cursed for having leaves but not figs (Mark 11:12-14, 20, 21), our mission at Woodstock UMC is to grow FIGS, which is an acronym for Fruitful In God’s Service,” Rev. Barton remarked.
In addition to supporting UMCOR’s request for contributions of relief kits, mosquito nets, and general disaster relief, Woodstock UMC is indeed involved in mission work in their own community. They provide supplies and monetary support to homeless shelters, sponsor clothing drives, and make donations to women’s shelters, among other ministries.
“We realize, too, the importance not only of ministering to those who attend our church services but, also, of stepping outside the doors of our church to minister to those who are spiritually, emotionally, and physically burdened,” commented Rev. Barton.
The lesson behind the work of this amazing 42-member congregation can be a great teaching moment for us all. When in doubt of where God’s call is leading you, respond to your neighbor with a simple question:
“How can I help?”
Your gift to UMCOR’s undesignated fund, UMCOR Advance #999895, will be used where it is needed most.
*Klay S. Williams is a writer and a regular contributor to UMCOR.org.