As we are regularly reminded, there are many in need around the world, especially in the event of natural disasters, but often we are not as informed as to needs closer to home. Red Bird Mission and Clinic, founded in 1921 and headquartered in Beverly, KY provides ministries in the Appalachian Mountains. Chronic poverty, lack of jobs, poor housing, and rugged mountainous terrain provide daily obstacles to residents in this isolated, rural, distressed area. Red Bird Mission strives to help through ministry in five areas: Education, Health and Wellness, Community Outreach, Economic Opportunity, and Community Housing Improvement.
Earth Keepers 2018
“With over a thousand references to the earth and caring for creation in the Bible, the message is clear: all in God’s creation – nature, animals, humanity – are inextricably linked to one another.”
– Introduction to the Green Bible, 2009
When I was in college I fell head-over-heals in love with nature. Even all these years later (whoa, can it really be fifty?) I am still awed by the intricacies of each life form, the elegance of how all life plays together in God’s grand symphony. Lately, I’ve been wondering if there was something more I should be doing—maybe even things we as a church could do to develop and deepen our care for God’s creation. This spring I had the opportunity to explore some possibilities when I attended the United Methodist Church’s Earth Keepers Training at the UMC Global Ministries Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
It is hard to describe the depth of connection we felt to one another and the inspiration we gleaned from each other as we were ably led by staff of the UMCOR Sustainable Development and Creation Care teams. We reflected on the theology of creation care, bared our souls about racism, discrimination and reconciliation, toured the sustainable building headquarters of a local nonprofit, worked on the design and presentation of our own creation care projects, had communion and worshiped together. It was a pleasure to walk our walk and talk our talk: we were served delicious vegetarian meals, used a van or walked between hotel and Global Ministries, brought our own water bottles and mugs, and composted our leftovers, including our paper plates and paper ware utensils. We also “rated” our meeting on the United Methodist Women’s Thirteen Guidelines for Sustainable Event Planning.
Early Sunday morning we made our project presentations and then joined in worship at our host church, Grace UMC. It was Pentecost Sunday and the symbolism of the Holy Spirit in the flaming bowl on the altar was not lost on us. God was charging us to go out into the world and act on what we had learned. Creation Care ministries are growing throughout the United Methodist Church!
I hope you will join me in exploring ways we can enhance our care of God’s creation. We are considering some activities for this fall, maybe a book and/or Bible study or a sustainability workshop of some kind. If you have ideas to share or would like to know more about Earth Keepers, feel free to contact me. And if you are interested in taking the training yourself, (There are two more this year, September in Detroit and November in Salt Lake City), here is the website with more information: https://www.umcmission.org/Learn-About-Us/Events/earthkeepers-training-2018
Christmas in July for Amigos Pantry
We at RHUMC provide six meals a year for the Amigos Circle of Life program, which serves those with HIV/AIDS and their families. Clients and their families go home with full bellies and also with bags of groceries from the Amigos pantry. At Christmas, Amigos receive large donations of food but by mid-year some supplies are running low. You can help by bringing donations of non-perishable food and household supplies to any Sunday service in July. Most needed items are beans, rice, peanut butter, canned meat and fish, oatmeal and raisins. Just look for the Trader Joe’s cart with the “Christmas in July” sign and drop off your donations. Thank you!
Mission Committee Welcomes Volunteers
The Missions Committee is looking for smiling faces as we head into the new year. This is an opportunity to be involved with the planning of events which raise money and RHUMC involvement with both local and international Mission projects. It’s a friendly, low-key group whose aim is to be helpful where we are able. We meet monthly – usually for an hour on the second Tuesday of each month. Come be part of a fun group. Everyone is welcome! Interested? Please contact Bill or Barbara Leone at 310-377-2628 or by email.
The first Tuesday of every month, RHUMC volunteers provide cooked hot meals prepared in RHUMC’s kitchen for Project: NEEDS, a mission and outreach ministry at St. Paul’s UMC in Redondo Beach. The need is especially great during the holiday season. If you would like to volunteer or help with the meal preparation on December 6, Mary Jane Schwebel would love to hear from you! She can be reached at 310-377-8780.
Sierra Service Project for Youth
Through acts of service repairing homes and community centers, Sierra Service Project invites youth into a closer relationship with God and to experience the transformative power of serving people who have a culture and life experience different from their own. Sierra Service Project offers week-long service projects during the summer for junior high and high school youth groups. Each summer, over 130 churches and 2,000 youth and their adult leaders join together at one of our six sites located in rural and urban communities across the western states.
At SSP, youth are safe to grow in their faith, learn new skills, and make new friends while serving those in need. Last summer volunteers completed 119 home repair projects and other types of community service. SSP serves the elderly, poor and marginalized. Our service is offered without strings attached and with respect and humility.
Information & Registration:
Jr. High Dates & Location: July 21, 2018 – July 28, 2018, Smith River, California
Sr. High Dates & Location: July 28, 2018 – August 5, 2018, Smith River, California
If you are interested in participating, contact Kristin Reksc at 310-377-6771 or email Kristin
International Service Trip
RHUMC will be returning to Nicaragua next summer to partner with Seeds of Learning to build a school, interact with the local community, discover Nicaragua, and win a child’s love. Seeds of Learning focuses on improving education in Nicaragua as a means of diminishing the overwhelming poverty in the country. This trip is open to anyone 16 and older. Cost is approximately $2400. Scholarships are available. Contact Kathy Platnick at
213-479-6950 for more information.
Our church can help, and it’s easy! By collecting labels, box tops, and lids (V8 products) we can help the school at Red Bird earn free equipment and supplies. Just look for products that say “Labels for Education,” “Box Tops for Education” or “Tyson Project A+.” Some of the participating companies are: BIC, Campbell’s, Dannon, Emerald, Glad, Pepperidge Farm, Post, Kleenex and Hefty. Clip your labels and bring them to church – deposit in the box in the narthex. Meanwhile, you can learn more at: www.labelsforeducation.com, www.boxtops4education.com , and www.projectaplus.tyson.com.
Stay tuned for the Mission Committee’s upcoming winter project. Opportunities to help will be available soon!