From the News Herald
Lynn Haven UMC runs its program a little differently, holding massive food distribution days with trucks’ worth of food every few months. The line often extends out into the parking lot.
In February, the church gave out 125 boxes of food to needy families, some of whom already had come by for past donations, which enabled the church to strike up a relationship and pray for recipients. They gave out another 5,000 pounds of food Friday.
“God has always provided every single truck,” Howell said. “We have fresh produce, frozen meat, baked goods and cereal. It’s about enough to feed a family for one to two weeks.”
While recipients at Center for Hope must be below the poverty threshold, at Lynn Haven UMC, people must fill out a form beforehand but otherwise aren’t required to show an ID or prove they’re in dire financial straits.
On February 19th, Springfield UMC was struck by a devastating fire. The sanctuary, offices, and prayer rooms were a total loss and the church also suffered water and smoke damage. The congregation of this church was faced with a worldly disaster. In addition to being their place of worship, the Mission House feeds 80-90 families every week. In the face of this situation, God saw opportunity.
On the evening of the fire, Pastor Seven Grogan was interviewed and said, “We’re still going to be here on Tuesday to feed families, be here next Sunday... nothing is going to stop us. We’re going to turn tragedy into triumph and we know that.” Two days later, the church opened its doors to the local community and continued their ministry to feed the community. “This is showing the community that we are not going to stop, and we’re not going to let anything defeat us... we are overcomers... and that we will survive,” said Pastor Grogan.
The fire has put a community spotlight on this congregation and their resilience in the face of tragedy. It has also put a spotlight on their commitment to serving the community for Christ. They worshiped the following Sunday behind their sanctuary and are planning the way forward. Due to your generous giving, we were able to give this church $2000 that we had allocated to disaster relief from the ministry budget. We have also loaned them our portable baptistery.
You can help them rebuild at www.SpringfieldUMCPC.org/donate.
Last year a New Horizons School mentor approached me with a situation involving his mentee, who had graduated and was having difficulty keeping a job and housing. The need to stabilize this young adult led me to talk to some individuals with social service agencies in a case management troubleshooting session at an Adult Protective Team monthly meeting attendees at The Department of Children and Families. Contacts were initiated to help the young man with housing and employment. He was able to be assessed for housing in a group home.
This week, over six months later, the LHUMC volunteer mentor to New Horizons approached and told me how well the young man is doing. This mentor was pleased to report that the young man’s life has stabilized. He is happy in the group home environment.
My desire and part of what I believe is my call to the work of a deacon serving the church and the community is to see further partnerships in the community between faith based groups, like LHUMC volunteers, schools like New Horizons, and social service agencies and other groups in town. By connecting with one another, sharing resources, and keeping the best interest of people with needs in mind, we are being good stewards of resources that God has made available and making sure that people, especially those with special needs, know they are loved and supported.
Cathy Byrd, MS CRSSParish Case Manager and Deacon in Residence
Recently, we received a letter from Tyler Vittetoe, a former Youth Minister here at our church, that we wanted to share with you all.
Dear Congregation and Staff at Lynn Haven UMC,
I want to take the opportunity to express my deepest gratitude for your past gifts to help me and my family as I continue my seminary education. Even though it has been many years ago, I consider it one of the great moments of my life in ministry to be able to serve the Lord alongside all of you. The support and the lessons that I learned during my time with all of you have continued to bless me in my current endeavors to continue to serve in the AWF Conference. Serving as an Associate Pastor here at Saint James is going very well. I’m serving in the areas of missions and outreach, which give me the unique opportunity to equip the people of my church to serve the needy here in Montgomery and around the world! I am also pursuing ordination as a Deacon in the UMC, and am excited to continue pursuing the Lord’s calling for my life. I’m so grateful for the many fond memories of my family life in Panama City, in which our involvement in the church was central. My family is so happy here in Montgomery, just as we were at Lynn Haven UMC. Kathryn has found a great opportunity to play cello full-time for the symphony here. Jayna and Elsie are both growing so fast, and are happy and healthy. Jayna frequently asks me about the people at Lynn Haven that have made a lasting impact on her little personality. I have heard so many great things about how the ministry is going at Lynn Haven, and your dedication to the Lord. Thank you again for the prayers and support that you all have given to me over the years. It always gives me confidence to remember that my home church is always cheering me on. Thank you especially to those of you who are lay-leaders, that dedicate your talents and time in order to lead the church. May the Lord supply all you need according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus! God bless all of you, in Jesus’ name!
Tyler Vittetoe Former Lynn Haven Youth Minister
We had a great season. The first half of the season was a struggle. We had to work through some injuries, and a few weeks we had to play short-handed, but we persevered and finished the year strong! We went 7-2 over the last 9 games, dominating our opponents by a combined score of 157-66!
Our biggest win, however, was welcoming a new family to our church! Rob, Lisa, and Jarett Wilkerson just moved to Panama City a couple of months ago. We met them at the ballpark 2 weeks before the season started. Rob and Jarett were looking for a softball team to play with, and ended up finding something much, much better! A church home! They have been attending ever since!
Our Gretna Family Mission Trip was a great success! We worked in and alongside the community to share the love of Christ with all that we came in contact with. Take a minute to watch slideshow below to see what was done at Gretna in service to God.
Birdhouses built & painted to hang around the campgrounds.
At the community farm/garden, we built an irrigation system, cleared out the garden beds, and started composting bins. Jennifer Adams taught members of the community how to compost.
At the community center, we placed the stones for the sidewalk, planted flowers in the front beds, built a fire pit, and also a "gaga pit" for games.
About 30 people from the community of Gretna joined us for a cookout, fun, and fellowship. Many of those that attended served alongside us in the service events.
Our younger childred created a sign for the community cookout (seen below).
The Prayer Square Ministry was introduced to the community