Category Archives: Mission and Outreach

A Thank You from the Salina Rescue Mission

While Jenny and I were on vacation, the church received a thank you note from the Salina Rescue Mission for the pillow cases we gave them. Here’s the text:

Dear Friends @ FUMC Abilene,

Thank you for the large donation of pillow cases. It may seem odd for us to have this as a need but many men use pillow cases as laundry bags and often when men leave the Mission they take the pillow case with them.

Thank You, Chad Young

Summer Lunch Program Volunteers Needed

The following was received from Julie Mayden and lightly edited:

As in years past, Abilene First United Methodist Church is helping to provide volunteers to operate the Summer Lunch Program.  The program will be held at McKinley Elementary School, Monday through Friday, June 5 to July 28, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (no lunches will be served July 3-4).  A free meal is available for volunteers at 10:45 a.m.  Otherwise, volunteers should plan to arrive at 11:00 a.m. and stay until 12:15 p.m.  There is a sign-up sheet available in the narthex.  Please assist us in helping with this much needed and much-appreciated program.

Food Pantry Month

May is Food Pantry Month here at Abilene First United Methodist Church. The following announcement by Julie Mayden is from our monthly newsletter:

May is the month First UMC traditionally provides food and funds for the operation of the Food Pantry which helps supply food and utility funds for those less fortunate. The following is a list of the immediate needs of the food pantry:

  • Baking Supplies: cake and muffin mixes, frosting, oil, flour, sugar
  • Canned Foods: fruit, vegetables, soup, condiments, meat substitutes
  • Cereal: hot cereal, cold cereal, cereal and breakfast bars
  • Cleaning Supplies: laundry soap, dish soap, hand soap
  • Paper Goods: toilet tissue, paper towels, napkins, facial tissue
  • Pasta: macaroni, noodles, spaghetti
  • Personal Hygiene: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, women’s feminine products, disposable diapers, men’s shaving supplies, hand and body lotions, and creams
  • Meats: any kind of canned meat and fish, especially tuna
  • Miscellaneous: peanut butter, jelly, coffee, tea, ramen noodles, rice, dry beans, crackers, juice, syrup, instant potatoes, hamburger helpers, spices, salt and pepper, jello and pudding mixes

Grocery bags (complete list of needs attached) will be available on Sunday mornings throughout the month of May to take home with you and fill, and then return the following Sunday or to the church office during the week. Envelopes will also be available on the table in the narthex if you would prefer to donate money for utilities (if you want, you can do both). Additionally, if you have extra points on your West’s Country Mart cards that you would be willing to give to the Food Pantry, they would be very much appreciated.


Why We’re Helping Refugees

Warning: this post may strike some readers as political. Though I hope it is not partisan, you may want to skip it.

In a recent sermon on Matthew 2:13-23, I compared the baby Jesus and his parents to Syrian refugees. Like Syrian refugees, the baby Jesus and his parents were:

  • Fleeing from a despotic, tyrannical rulers (ISIS and King Herod, respectively).
  • Fleeing from a part of the world known to be politically unstable.
  • Fleeing from an area known to be filled with religious fanatics.
  • Fleeing to an area where they would have been a religious minority.
  • Not Christian (Jesus was less than two years old and his parents were devout Jews).
  • Not Caucasian, in fact, I can’t help but think they probably look a lot like the people in news photographs of Syrian refugees.

If the Holy Spirit is pricking your conscience and you want to help, the church is collecting school kits for refugees and others like them in dire need (they will go wherever the greatest need is, so we can’t say with absolute certainty where they will end up).

Mission Project: School Kits

At their last meeting, the Mission and Outreach Team set a goal of collecting 50 School Kits for refugees (that’s our intent, but UMCOR will send them wherever the greatest need is—but if our School Kits don’t go to refugees someone else’s will).

Our plan is to collect one item each month. Below is the schedule that was drawn up by Joe Nold, who has taken steps to ensure that the prescribed items are in stock at Shopko each month.

January: 3 pads of paper

  • Spiral-or top-bound pads
  • 150 sheets or less of loose-leaf paper can be substituted for 1 pad
  • Combination of spiral, top-bound, side-bound, or loose-leaf paper is acceptable
  • No composition books

February: 6 unsharpened pencils

  • No advertisements, religious, patriotic, military, or camouflage symbols, please
  • Cartoon characters are acceptable

March: 1 pair blunt scissors

  • Rounded tip only
  • No plastic scissors, please

April: 1 24-count box of crayons 

  • Only 24-count boxes, please

May: 1 hand-held pencil sharpener

  • Must be at least 1 inch long
  • Remove from packaging

June: 1 2-inch or larger-size eraser

  • No advertisements, religious, patriotic, military, or camouflage symbols, please
  • Cartoon characters are acceptable

July: 1 30-centimeter ruler

  • Hard or flexible
  • Cartoon characters are acceptable
  • No advertisements, please

If you prefer,  you may simply feed the fish located in the Narthex (you’ll know it when you see it), and your monetary gift will go to support this project.

School Kits for Refugees

The Mission and Outreach Team met on Tuesday and set a goal of collecting 50 school kits for refugees. The Mission and Outreach Team decided to focus on collecting one item per month. The item for the first month is one box of 24 crayons. Only boxes of 24 can be accepted. If you would prefer to collect all the items at once we’ll be more than happy to accept that. The full list is at this link. There will be a basket by the main sanctuary door that you can put your crayons in. We’ll also have a fish out for cash donations to help cover shipping and other costs for this project (you’ll know it when you see it).


2016 SERRV Sale a Success

The following was received from our illustrious Office Administrator and lightly edited:

Our 2016 SERRV sale was a great success!  As you know, the Mission & Outreach Committee initially started this sale last year as an outreach project, as it helps provide a decent living to small farmers and artisans around the world.  But through the process we found it to be an excellent “fundraiser” as roughly 25% of the proceeds come back to our church.  As it was always intended as a mission project, the Outreach committee decided any funds raised would go to purchase the fairly-traded coffee we serve every Sunday morning after church, and in that way we are putting those funds back into mission, at the same time as we are helping to fund those expenses here at the church.  From our funds raised in 2015, we were able to purchase all the fairly traded coffee we used for the entire year in 2016!  Our sales for 2016 have been a little over $1,600, which means we should once again be able to fund all our coffee expenses for 2017, while helping those same small farmers.  And as anyone knows who purchased any of the SERRV items, the best part is the beautiful and unique products you get to keep!  Thank you to everyone who participated in our SERRV sale!

Serrv Outreach Fundraiser

Received from Julie Mayden and lightly edited:

The last three Sundays in November, the Mission and Outreach committee will again be hosting a sale of Serrv products. Items ordered through the church should arrive before Christmas, and the Missions and Outreach Committee will receive up to 25% of the sales. If you’re interested in looking at what Serrv has to offer, you can visit (you can order directly, but the church only benefits if you order through us). There will be a table in the Narthex with catalogs and order forms during the sale, and catalogs are currently available in the office.

Serrv is an international, nonprofit, fair-trade organization that seeks to help artisans and small farmers by providing them a market for their goods at a fair price. This is a means of international economic development that allows those artisans and small farmers to help themselves.