A couple of weeks ago, the Rev. Dr. Steven Summers, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries, challenged the Connectional Ministries staff to join the 2022 Special Cleaning Kit Collection. At first, we thought, ‘what can a group of 20-30 people do?’ (*about 20-30 people are working in the Conference Center). We were reminded that we are a connectional church, and we will be able to set a goal and join in this mission when we do it together! So we set a goal to collect and assemble 100 cleaning kits! I know it sounds impossible.
The materials for 100 cleaning kits will cost approximately $5,000 (There is a power in bulk purchase). And we knew it would be difficult, not impossible, for 20-30 people to raise $5,000. We reached out to our partner organizations in the Conference Center; Virginia United Methodist Pension Inc. and Virginia United Methodist Foundation. We came up with a plan asking for their support. ‘If the staff of the Conference Center raises $1,250, would you be able to donate a matching fund?’ All partners agreed, and the Conference Center was added to the list of matching funds. So if a staff contributes $1, it will have a $4 impact!
As many would do, we started inviting staff to join the fundraiser and even made a thermometer to show our progress. After 3 weeks, we were able to reach our goal and reported to our partners that we had raised close to $2,000! All partners matched their funds, and we now had the money to purchase the materials needed.
With limited experience in purchasing materials, we reached out to the Central Virginia Mission Hub (CVMH). CVMH is a mission collection hub directly connected to Mission Central, Mechanicsburg, PA, an official UMCOR depot. They are part of the ministry of Culpeper United Methodist Church. CVMH has been hosting multiple kit assembly events for years and helps churches to host an event for their church. We heard that CVMH recently helped Ivy Creek United Methodist Church to assemble 50 cleaning kits, so we asked if they could do the same for the Conference Center. Only with a 10-day notice CVMH graciously offer their help and arrive at the Conference Center with all materials needed to assemble the kits.
Packing day was a great moment to witness the joining heart of the people willing to serve the Lord! CVMH instructed each member on how to set up and pack the kits. All who were able joined and made the work easier! We were able to pack 100 kits in an hour and enjoyed each other’s presence with a lunch provided by the Conference Social Committee!
On that day, we saw a glimpse of the joy and synergy we create through our connectional system. We become excited when we see the pictures of churches assembling and bringing the kits to the collection site! Please send your pictures to [email protected] or share them on our VAUMC Serving Facebook Group. We eagerly look forward to Nov 10, 2022 when all kits collected across the conference arrive at the Conference Center! We will load all collected kits, pray and send them to UMCOR, who will share them with the people in recovery!