Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Canada Losing It's Religion

Canada is headed the same direction as Europe. And, it's likely showing the U.S. where we are headed, even in the southeast, as secularization sweeps the land. "Before 1971, less than 1 per cent of Canadians ticked the “no religion” box on national surveys. Two generations later, nearly a quarter of the population, or 23 per cent, say they aren’t religious."

Catch this-- "Religious scholars see perhaps the majority of today’s young Canadian adults as disappearing down a black hole of spiritual illiteracy from which institutional religion cannot retrieve them. The cause is also a product of young adults increasingly seeing organized religion as illogical and out of touch with reality."

Later, "Religious scholars see perhaps the majority of today’s young Canadian adults as disappearing down a black hole of spiritual illiteracy from which institutional religion cannot retrieve them." And then, "What attracts native-born Canadians to church these days, says religion sociologist David Seljak of St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ont., is the availability of parking, quality of preaching and children’s programs, in that order."

Does any of this sound eerily familiar to your community and conversations?

"Canada: Losing It's Religion?"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

UMC Call to Action

Just in case you missed it here's the link to the UMC Call to Action.

I'm curious what North GA UMC is talking about & planning on in terms of this report. Are we already making adjustments or waiting on further UMC action including General Conference before moving ahead? Will we be making 2011 appointments with this in mind? Will Jurisdictional conferences choose bishops based on this criteria and complementary skill set? Should delegates to annual conferences choose delegates for GC & JC based on this sort of thinking about the UMC? Or should we fall back to what we've done in recent years?

So many questions as I peer into the CTA & 2011. How do we jump to NOT doing "business as usual?" Are we REALLY going to elect THOSE people?! Much of the report has focus on congregational vitality, growing membership, and in particular successfully engaging the younger generations. I'm not sure we'll quickly or easily move away from status quo, "toxic," and "unsustainable." See CTA Final Report News if you don't get the references. I'm also curious if this will prove more contentious to the UMC than some of our hot topic social issues of recent years! In terms of Methodism, it will be curious to see if these truly become our top priorities at the congregational, clergy, & episcopal levels or if we'll prefer to give top shelf to some other aspect of our historic/past identity.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Waiting for a Wrecker & Looking Into 2011

Our car broke down on Christmas Eve after my wife returned home from the early children & family worship service. The intent was for my teenage son to then drive to church and attend a traditional candlelight service. But in the hand off, when they tried to start the car back up, it would crank but not move well. So, change of plans for them as I finished the night at church in the various worship services.

Now I'm sitting here waiting on the tow truck to pick up the car to visit our mechanic. He knows this old car well & they visit a little too often!

I'm thinking back on the roller coaster ride of the last year. The days and weeks do fly. And our rapidly changing times add spice... no, wait, is it anxiouisness... hmm, maybe challenge... oh, I don't know what the correct word is! But it seems the rapid change & challenges are tough for our institutions to deal with-- family, school, city, denomination, country. Just think about the havoc of the economy of the last year/s and how that is leveling/changing the playing field. Or read
Methodist Year in Review to recall what the last year brought us.

2011 huh?

As I said a few times through the end of 2009, and early in 2010 before life got hyperacitve, it appears that we are in a time of institutional reformation. It will be fun, and exciting, to see if 2011 is a time of spiritual reformation and renewal in addition to the "process" changes that are occuring. In particular, it will be exciting to see what the next 2 years brings the United Methodist Church as we move toward a reformation and realignment of the church to best meet the needs of our day with the available resources. I haven't heard any North GA UM convversation about the Call to Action. My guess is I'll soon hear more on appointments (unless there's another lock down on talk), delegate politics (it's an election year), and talk about funding woes.

Well, the tow truck is here. I hope 2011 is unlike my old car, & proves a fine running machine that won't need the wrecker too often!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Heaven Cannot Contain

After the kids opened presents and we hit that slow, nice part of Christmas Day, I found myself listing to some of Carl Gladstone's Advent Hymns based on great Charles Wesley music. I appreciate the depth of C. Wesley theology and the way Carl is brings it to life today. These are some of the words that helped my experience of Christmas today. Merry Christmas!

Heaven Cannot Contain
words by Charles Wesley,
music by Carl Thomas Gladstone

Glory be to God on high,
And peace on earth descend;
...God comes down; bows the sky,
and shows himself our friend!

Heaven cannot contain!
Knees and hearts to him we bow;
Jesus is our brother now.

God invisible appears,
God the great I AM
Sojourns in this vale of tears,
And Jesus is his name.

Stand amazed, ye heavens, at this!
Lord of earth and skies
Humbled to the dust he is,
And in a manger lies!

Emptied of all majesty,
Dazzling glories shorn,
Being's source begins to be,
And God himself is born!

2008 Carl Thomas Gladstone
Some Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Upcoming Mission Happenings

Trinity Outreach Dates of Note:

Augusta Canal Clean Up Day & Picnic

Join a large clean up being planned for the Augusta
Canal on Saturday, October 23, 2010 from 9 AM - 12 PM. Dumpsters will be stationed in the area for all trash that is found. Following
the clean up there will be a picnic for all participants, 12 - 1 at Lake Olmstead sponsored by Augusta Parks and Recreation. We will also have 8 soldiers from Ft. Gordon assisting in this clean up. Contact Scott Parrish or Kim Fender to reserve your place as we clean up the Trinity on the Hill section of the canal from the Bulkhead Gate to Broad Street (& perhaps more).

Sat Nov 6- Fuller Center House Block Party
Join some of the FROGS and receive their good assistance for a workday with ASU Wesley Foundation from 8 AM-12 Noon. We’ll know the exact project closer to the date but it will probably involve insulation and sheathing outside walls or demolition of exterior siding. Contact Scott Parrish or Mike Gardner to secure your place in the work.

Pray for the Jamaica Medical Mission team sharing the love of Christ in word and deed November 6-13.

Augusta Urban Ministries Angel Tree/White Christmas
Angel Tree & White Christmas tags will be available in November. Your gifts and funds are due @ the church December 5 between 8AM-12 Noon as our great friends Bill & Lois Monro will have their trucks to receive your items. We’ll deliver to AUM @ 12:30 that day. AUM distributes the food baskets and toys on Saturday, December 11

Help Serve at the Master’s Table Monday, November 29. Contact Lucy Weigle or Scott Parrish for more information.

Volunteer as Trinity on the Hill hosts Interfaith Hospitality Network of Augusta December 26- January 2. Contact Janet Billingsley or Scott Parrish as we share the love of Christmas and will need our usual number of helpers as we care for homeless families and their children.

Trinity Outreach Celebration
Wednesday, February 2- Celebrate Mission in Worship
Saturday, February 5- Day of Service
Sunday, February 6- Hear a Mission Challenge in Worship

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fall Children's Consignment Sale

Thank you to the local newspaper for picking up our story!

Consignment Sale

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fall Children's Consignment Sale

Imagine 300 consignors, 60-70,000 quality items for babies, children, and teens, and thousands of shoppers in a 2 day sale & you've got our church consignment sale in mine! This ain't an old timey church yard sale with masking tape price tags, but is a computerized megasale that is a huge community event drawing consignors and shoppers from a 7 county area!

The Trinity on the Hill Children’s Consignment Sale (TOTH CCS) is held twice a year in the spring and sponsored by Trinity on the Hill UMC. Proceeds from the sale are divided between the seller (60%) and the TOTH CCS (40%). The net proceeds retained by the church are used to support the local, national and international missions of Trinity Outreach Ministries. In addition, at the discretion of the consignor, any unsold items may be donated to TOTH CCS to be used in various missions projects.

We're excited to announce that due to church renovation our fall sale will be held at 3360 Wrightsboro Road (the old Rhodes Furniture/Rooms To Go building)!

Fall Sale - Important Dates
Date Time Activity
Sunday, Sept. 5 Midnight Registration Deadline
Sunday, Sept. 12 Midnight Barcode Ordering Deadline
Monday, Sept. 13 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. Scheduled Drop Off
Tuesday, Sept.14 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Scheduled Drop Off
Wednesday, Sept. 15 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Scheduled Drop Off
Thursday, Sept. 16 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Pre-Sale - Volunteers Only
Friday, Sept. 17 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Public Sale
Saturday, Sept. 18 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Public Sale (50% off selected items)

Monday, Sept. 20 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. Pick Up

All the Consignor Information is found online. To register as a consignor go to and click on the Children's Consignment Sale link. You will be directed to PayPal where your $10 registration fee will be collected. DON'T FORGET to click on the button to return to Trinity's website to complete your registration.

Worker Information
All volunteers who complete at least one 4-hour workshift are invited to attend the Pre-Sale on Thursday night! Volunteering is a great way to meet others in the community and to have fun while contributing your time and talents to a worthwhile cause.

Shopper Information
As noted above, our Fall Sale will be held at a new location to be announced. Our first 100 shoppers will receive a free reusable tote bag! We accept cash, checks and Mastercard/VISA for payment. All sales are final, no returns or exchanges. If you'd like to attend the Pre-Sale on Thursday night, sign up as a volunteer worker to receive your invitation!

For more information or to register as a consignor go to Children's Consignment Sale

Friday, August 27, 2010

Augusta State University Wesley Foundation

We've got a very exciting year ahead as next week is already the 3rd week of fall semester at ASU.

Most Tuesdays of semester- LUNCH at Trinity on the Hill UMC Dining Room from 12:15-1:30. Features music, food, & friends. Only $3 for lunch feeds a hungry student!

Tuesday After Lunch—Freshman Group- 1:30-2:30 PM at Trinity on the Hill

Wednesday- Faith & Life Group- 4:00-5:00 PM – at Trinity on the Hill

Other fun adventures that develop! Evening Bible Study and other options may arise based on your interests and availability. We’ll help you network for any location from ASU to your neighborhood or town as we help ASU students and young adults grow in faith.

-ASU Intramurals- we’d be glad to sponsor a flag football, basketball, softball, etc. Look for sign-ups and help us recruit.
- Church Outreach Teams—Would you be available to go to a local church and speak, or play music, or lead a youth or children’s ministry for a one time event?
-Local Mission- We offer MANY ongoing opportunities for you to be part of a local service including feeding ministries, mentoring children, recreation, neighborhood cleanup, construction for the poor and elderly, etc. Join us one time and see what a difference it makes in your life and for someone else.

December 17-19 Southeast Student Retreat at Lake Junaluska NC

Passion Atlanta – a day or two during Jan 1-4

We have some excellent cultural immersion experiences which also require specific skills including construction, children’s ministry, cooking for the team, music, etc. Our exciting mission teams for the next year includes:

April 2-9 Choctaw Mission, Philadelphia, MS- The team will partner with the historic Methodist work with the Choctaw Nation, enjoy worship with in a Choctaw UM church, and through the week participate in construction and children's ministries.

May 19-25 Georgia Wesley Foundations Island Mission (either Haiti or Bahamas- TBD fall 2010)- ASU WF will join all the other Wesley Foundations throughout GA in this high impact mission. Construction and children's ministry options for work.

June 19-25 Urban Immersion Mission-- we'll take a team of students into an urban setting in the northeast or upper midwest U.S. and take an urban plunge into ministry. (Late breaking news from July 26—possible TOTH teams going to Honduras and Togo likely in June 2011).

The ASU WF is sponsored by The United Methodist Church and is a campus ministry open to ALL ASU students. Find both ASU WF & Scott on Facebook or call the Trinity on the Hill church office at 706-738-8822 or for more information.

Missing Days Working & Not Sharing Stories

Too many days have gone by without sharing any stories. The summer was too short with all work and no play. Add in my son returning from choir tour in Spain needing to be hospitalized, my grandmother breaking her hip, and my mother-in-law having emergency double by pass surgery and it's all a blur! And now we are back in school with a 1st grader, a 9th grader, and a college freshman. Yee Haw!!

Can you believe we are now 5 years after Hurricane Katrina? I'm curious though what you did in response. Check out the story of some people who've been served and those who have served.

Hurricane Katrina Angels

Friday, June 18, 2010

Stop Hunger Now Meal Packaging

For the last few years we've always had mission service days at annual conference, but with one day less the schedule is a little more compressed. Thankfully we still had a great quality, "hands on" mission option that has a tremendous impact.

More than 200,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now were packaged Thursday. The meals are going to school children in Nicaragua. The mission project was made possible by an anonymous donation of $50,000.

The prepackaged meals of rice, vegetables, soy protein and chicken flavoring include 21 essential vitamins and minerals chosen especially for malnourished people.
Each reusable plastic bag provides servings for six people, has a shelf life of three to five years and costs about 25 cents to make.

There was a great mix of children, youth, and adults of all ages and stages working on this assembly project.

Learn more about Stop Hunger Now Meal Packaging Program

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mission Education Event

The 2010 Co-operative Christian Mission Education Event (CCMEE) will be held at Simpsonwood Retreat Center, July 15-16-17. The three mission studies to be taught are:

Geographical Study–The Beauty & Courage of Sudan: Why a Dream of Peace is Possible
Spiritual Growth–For the Love of God: John’s Letters
Social Issues–Joy to the World: Mission in the Age of Global Christianity

School Dean: Barbara Rankin 404-294-6795

Mission Education

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

North GA UMC Annual Conference Begins

I can't think of any better way to start a few days of church meetings than with a reunion!

Yesterday afternoon I took the pleasant 90 minute drive from Augusta to Athens for Annual Conference. The deacons of the conference always have a gathering the evening before conference, and enjoy a meal, a meeting, and of course, the best part is the reunion and fellowship as "old" deacons and new gather together. We had almost 60 deacons of the conference make their way to Winterville, just east of Athens, for the event. The last 3 years a church in the Athens area has hosted our meal, and we've found it to be a great way to "connect" with different churches and clergy, plus it's always fun to learn more about a church we may not have experienced. Of course, many congregations (even in "deacon rich" North Georgia) don't know about United Methodist deacons, so it's a good opportunity all the way around.

Deacon Ministry

The deacons in my conference are an interesting, diverse order of clergy who range the gamut of specialized ministries in the Church and World. As we gathered we welcomed new clergy to the gathering, and celebrated with some who are retiring. We swapped stories and ate some incredible "home cooked" turkey, sweet potatoes, and more especially prepared for us by the pastor and his church. And then as we left the church to travel back to Athens, as day was giving way to night around 8:30, found ourselves driving in a torrential downpour complete with stoplights out & street flooding!

Let Annual Conference begin!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Love Unlimited Tours Spain

Love Unlimited, the senior high youth choir at Trinity on the Hill UMC, departs for Spain today. This exciting 75 voice choir and band have an exciting sound and witness. Check out their schedule, keep them in your prayers, and follow their adventures with the updates that will be posted on their website.

Senior High Youth Choir Tours Spain

Monday, June 7, 2010

Are Mission Trips Worth It?

There is an ongoing conversation in some circles about whether mission trips are worth the time, expense, and if they truly have a positive impact. I actually enjoy the conversation, and think there have been some problems with mission experiences, so I don't discount the conversation. But, when it comes down to it, for me what is too often missing in Christian and church witness is the powerful combination of Word AND Deed. Check out the conversation below that made the front page of the Sunday paper. It was interesting that this carried over into many of the discussions at my church on Sunday morning.

Are Mission Trips Worth It?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Senior High Youth Choir

Our senior high youth choir heads out each June for a summer tour. They are typically a group of 75 or more singers plus a very talented band. Over the last few years they've toured DC, NYC, Texas, & the midwest. But every 4 years they do a big European tour. This year Love Unlimited is headed to Spain. Keep up with their adventure by internet or Facebook. This ministry always has a profound effect on those involved and we expect that tradition will continue once again in the next couple of weeks.

Love Unlimited

In the next few weeks I'll enjoy a United Methodist Annual Conference in Athens, a mission team in Detroit, and more summer excitement.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"For the Good of the World"

In my last 3 years of church service I've been privileged to work as a mission pastor and as a campus minister. I've realized through this service that campus ministry is a key missional outpost that is necessary for the young adult generation and the health, ministry, and conversation of the Church. I love the challenging, dynamic, incredible place of campus ministry and all the relationships that are found at the university. With that in mind what a joy to find Dr. Russ Richey's writing related to campus ministry.

In a recent GBHEM publication Dr. Richey offers a historic overview of Methodist campus ministry from 1820 to the present, and includes some insights worthy of conversation at all levels in the life and ministry of the Church.

Here are two excerpts to whet your appetite and fuel our thinking & conversation:
"Campus ministries have been, and perhaps ideally should be, related (1) to the congregations near the institution and particularly to what has been termed the near-campus church; (2) to the district and the district superintendent
within whose purview the campus and its ministries lie; (3) to the annual conference whose extension ministry structures support and oversee United Methodist religious activities and to whom the ordained campus ministers belong; and (4) to the general agency (now GBHEM) that also provides resources for campus ministry. The
metaphors as proposed suggest a dynamic but unraveling marital saga."

"The vision of the entire connection at every level engaged with higher education and of the ministries on campus forming and equipping new generations of denominational leaders seemingly guided Shockley, Neinast, and Burry in their rebuilding efforts."

See the entire article at “For the Good of the World”:
Methodism’s Ministry to the Campus by Russell E. Richey

Thursday, April 1, 2010

O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done!

A fitting hymn for Maundy Thursday is "O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done!" It was a little challenge tonight as we typically only sing it once a year, but the words are moving.

O Love divine, what hast thou done!
The immortal God hath died for me!
The Father’s co-eternal Son
Bore all my sins upon the tree.
Th’immortal God for me hath died:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

Is crucified for me and you,
To bring us rebels back to God.
Believe, believe the record true,
Ye all are bought with Jesus’ blood.
Pardon for all flows from His side:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

Behold and love, ye that pass by,
The bleeding Prince of life and peace!
Come, sinners, see your Savior die,
And say, “Was ever grief like His?”
Come, feel with me His blood applied:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

Then let us sit beneath His cross,
And gladly catch the healing stream:
All things for Him account but loss,
And give up all our hearts to Him:
Of nothing think or speak beside,
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

Words: Charles Wes?ley, Hymns and Sac?red Po?ems, 1742.
Music: Se?le?na, Isaac B. Wood?bu?ry, Dul?ci?mer, 1850

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Augusta GA + early April =

The Masters!

Augusta is looking great, spring is finally here, and the world will soon join us as the town fills up with golf excitement. Of course, for local folk it means Spring Break, avoiding certain roads during some hours, and lots of extra people in town. I'll post a picture or story if I see or hear anything of interest that doesn't make the "official" news.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Free Conference on Medical Mission

FREE Conference on Medical Volunteerism

Co-Sponsored by the Emory University School of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Mercer School of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

· Learn from the inspiring stories of medical, dental, and lay volunteers

· Network with health care professionals, students, and lay people volunteering in all areas of health care and public health.

· Network with non-profit organizations offering a range of volunteer opportunities for medical and lay people

· Learn about activities such as screenings, free clinics, surgical interventions, public health education, & health care provider training.

· Learn about a range of volunteer opportunities in the Atlanta area, the United States, & around the world... Latin America - Haiti - Africa - East Asia - Mongolia - Eastern Europe - the Middle East

DATE: April 16th-18th, 2010

LOCATION: Emory University campus, Atlanta, GA



United Methodist Volunteers in Mission will be participating in this event. We hope you will pass this information along to interested parties.

United Methodist Volunteers in Mission

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Church as Dream Factory AND Do Factory

Check out a great blog about the church

Friday, March 5, 2010

Methodists in Thailand

My church supports a student pastor in the northern area of Thailand from the Akha hill tribe. Pastor Nimmit is in place due to the good efforts of Revs. Mike and Sherri Morrissey. The Morrisseys are elders from the Kentucky conference. Read more about the type of approach they take into mission work at Respect

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Business as Mission

Bill Mallory will present a Sunday School session Sunday, March 7 on "Business as Mission." When in the States, Page and Bill spend much of their time in Augusta with the grandkids, but live most of the year in Cebu, Philippines where they have a factory making garden pots, urns, planters, fountaines and many other outdoor items.

They currently provide jobs for around 4,000 people and operate as a BAM (business as mission). Bill says a BAM has 3 bottom lines- profit, service to the community and introducing Jesus. They currently sell their products to Home Depot and Sam's and catalogs, Horchow, Frontgate, Grandinroad and Plow & Hearth. They give the Holy Spirit credit for their success and have many examples where He put things together they never thought possible.

If you are in the area join us for what should be an interesting discussion!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Haiti Update and United Methodist Mission Teams

Rev. Nick Elliott gave me permission to share this as the intent is to "get the word out" on the best ways to be a help in Haiti. You'll read in this MANY opportunities for assistance AND limited opportunities for teams to go in. I'll be part of a mission leadership team from North GA meeting this Saturday to get a first hand account regarding Haiti and how we might best be part of the long term recovery.

FEBRUARY 20-23, 2010

Rev. Tony Rowell (Chair of UMVIM, SC), Mr. Wade McGuinn (Director, Haiti Children's Project), and myself formed a delegation from South Carolina to visit Haiti with Mr. James Gulley, the UMCOR Coordinator for Haiti on February 20. We were joined by James' son and daughter in law, an independent writer and photographer team. Our pilot was Brett Meares who also spent his time shuttling food into Haiti from the Dominican Republic while we were busy in Haiti.

As we circled the Port au Prince Airport, we could see the devastation from the air. We were met at the airport by Donnette and other staff from the Methodist Guest House. The drive was quiet sobering. Later on as we toured the city and looked at the devastation, several things became obvious. The amount of damage was far greater than can be understood from watching the news media coverage; the danger from falling buildings is still present; there is without doubt many people that are still missing and presumed to be under all the rubble; and everyone we met was still in shock.

We visited the ruins of the Montana Hotel with a respective silence. This is where James Gulley, Clint Rabb and Sam Dixon from the GBGM were meeting. As they were walking from the lobby to the dining room the earthquake hit. Jim said “in a matter of three seconds we felt the earth shake and then we were covered in debris.” They were in a small space about 4' by 8' injured but alive. Although they thought they could hear searchers looking for them, they could not get their attention. It was over fifty-five hours until they were rescued and by that time, Sam Dixon had gone to meet his maker. Clint was rescued but badly injured and soon went on to meet with Sam and their Lord. Thankfully, Jim only sustained minor injuries.

These types of stories can be told repeatedly. People going about their daily tasks with the assumption that everything is business as normal and within the blink of an eye—everything changes. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and in the very best of times, life is extremely difficult. The list of why Haiti is so poor is too long to mention but a primary reason is the lack of a sufficient government infrastructure. It was this same lack of infrastructure that caused many deaths due to the lack of adequate building codes.

The projection of lives lost is 250,000 and 300,000 injured and 1,500,000 displaced. Many refugees have gone to different cities throughout the country and others are living in tent cities. For example, on the Methodist Guest House compound there is a double set of concrete basketball courts filled with tents and five hundred people living there. As you can imagine, food and sanitation are main concerns; as well as sufficient health care.

The school at the Guest House compound is sitting idle due to safety concerns of the buildings; and the shops and trade schools do not have sufficient funds for operation. There is only minor damage at the Guest House and this is primarily the collapse of security walls around the house. To compound difficulties, the Guest House is a source of income for the Methodist Conference and so are the schools, but the earthquake brought a stop to this income.

On Monday, February 22, we met with President Gestner Paul. The schools and the Guest House are priority for the Conference. The guest house will serve as the center of operations in the Recovery Phase and the schools' tuition pay the great majority of salaries for the Pastors of the Conference.
The first school we visited was College Bird. It was a school with 1850 students and thankfully no one was injured during the earthquake because school had finished and everyone left for the day. Even the custodian had just left when something told him he should wait until the next morning to mop the final classroom. The church was still standing but the Bell Tower was cracked and leaning which makes it impossible for the church to be used. The rest of the buildings had collapsed and were being cleaned up with hand tools and workers (a mammoth job.) This is President Paul's first priority but I question when it will be cleared.

An Associated Press article February 26, 2010 quoted Haitian President Rene Preval as saying it would take 1000 dump trucks 1000 days to to clear all the debris from Port-au-Prince. It also said they only have 250 dump trucks owned by the government and maybe another 250 from the private sector. This will definitely have an impact on Haitian Methodist President Gestner Paul's plan for the College Bird School to be ready for construction by mid-March.

The Haitian infrastructure will continue to face more challenges as the government attempts to move displaced persons to the outlying areas beyond Port-au-Prince. The government does not like the idea of large tent cities but the Haitians are reluctant to move again after finding a suitable tent city. However, with the impending rainy season, sanitation and malaria are primary concerns. There is a small tent city in the yard of the Prime Minister and nearby the symbol of oppression (the Presidential Palace) was destroyed by the earthquake.

The second project we visited was the Carrafour School and Church. There was very little damage to either and they can be used as soon as a government inspector approves use. There is a real problem with getting persons to return to their homes, churches, schools, etc. Simply, everyone is so afraid of another earthquake that they do not want to be inside a building. They know the loss of life during the January 12 earthquake and simply do not desire to be a casualty if/when it happens again. This was evident even with our team. We experience aftershock the night we arrived and the second night some of our team slept in tents. I might add the rest of our team joined them when an aftershock hit about 1:30 am the second night.

We followed the western seaside highway out of Port-au-Prince to Melliere. There we found a school and a church that would be a great project for six or seven UMVIM teams. It is in a sugar cane field and teams would probably stay in the Guest House in Petit Goave.

We then followed the seaside highway to Petit Goave which is seventy-five miles out of Port-au-Prince. You can easily see the fault-line due to the cracks and holes in the asphalt highway. The damage in Petit Goave was nearly as bad as in P-a-P. The school had some moderate damage, mainly cleaning debris. The Methodist clinic was demolished and a nurse from Texas was a casualty. There was minor damage to the Church but the auxiliary buildings sustained major damage.

The top three Priorities for Haiti Methodist President Gestner Paul are:
1. College Bird School
2. Update and repair the Guest Homes
3. Life with Dignity for the HaitianPeople

UMVIM, SC will definitely be able to assist with the first two and if we are sincere, sensitive
Christians, we can assist with the third.


The Haitian Methodist Conference was last week and most likely the Conference endorsed President Paul's priority list. UMCOR's Tom Hazelwood and three of the five UMVIM Jurisdiction Coordinators attended to gather the latest information. Please remember according to the Discipline, UMCOR is in charge of all disasters and all United Methodist Agencies are to work under the direction of the Haiti Conference.


There will probably be someone selected and stationed in P-a-P to coordinate teams coming to Haiti.

Wade McGuinn will be checking the plans, material lists, and labor costs for the Church. (A Special thank you to Wade for arranging the private air flight.)

The Haiti School Lunch Program should be pushed and expanded. For $1.00 a day a Haitian child can receive enough nutritious food to thrive. To put it in perspective, I saw a TV commercial asking for $19 a month to “help save the animals.” Which is the most important children or animals?

Health kits, midwife kits, layette kits, scholarships and gifts which preserve the dignity of those receiving assistance are still needed!

Upon the return of Tom Hazelwood and the Jurisdiction UMVIM Coordinators, we will have a much better idea of how and when we can begin our response.

We in UMVIM, SC are called to be servants to our Lord and Savior as we serve with the Haitian Methodist Church. True servants are not concerned about logos or egos but only a heart to serve.

I know in my heart, the Haitians stand a good chance to be better off than before; if, we as Christians use our love and resources to help them recover. The Haitian People are some of the most loving and resilient people God ever created and they have hope for the future. I am reminded of a Haiti Proverb from the Haitian book GOD IS NO STRANGER.

Photo by Rev. Tony Rowell for use only to raise awareness of the Haitian situation.

Lord your servant
doesn't know
left from right.
Even now I don't
know which one of
your Hands I am in
--but if in the
left or the right
it doesn't matter.
I am in Your hands
and that's enough.

Respectfully Submitted,
Nick Elliott
March 2, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

UMCOR Haiti Update

From: UMCOR []
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2010 9:22 AM
To: Scott Parrish
Subject: [umcor-haiti-news] UMCOR Haiti Update

February 19, 2010

A weekly report of UMCOR's relief efforts in Haiti.

Thanks so much for the outpouring of support for UMCOR's Haiti relief efforts - the generosity is amazing! As we work with the people in Haiti to address the long term recovery and development needs, we are thankful to move forward with the confidence that the people of the United Methodist Church will continue to partner with UMCOR in the years to come. Especially as Haiti prepares for the rainy season, and then hurricane season, please be in prayer with the people of Haiti and know that your support is critical.

As of February 18, 2010

$12 million has been received for UMCOR Haiti Relief
Hundreds of thousands of kits have been received at UMCOR Sager Brown and are being verified for shipment to Haiti.

Since the January 12 earthquake, UMCOR has carried out an initial assessment of damages and needs, developed a five-year work plan, and shored up strategic partnerships with the United Nations, NGOs and the Methodist Church in Haiti.

The UMCOR work plan anticipates three phases of recovery: emergency, recovery and rehabilitation. Currently operating in the emergency phase -- from the time of the earthquake through April and including the start of the rainy season in March – UMCOR is addressing the most immediate needs of access to food, clean water and sanitation, temporary shelter and emotional and spiritual support.

This week’s highlights include:

While UMCOR has been working in Haiti since before the earthquake, this week, UMCOR re-opened the Haiti field office. UMCOR’s Kate Paik and Larry Powell have been in Port-au-Prince coordinating with the Methodist Church in Haiti and preparing the UMCOR Haiti field office.

Staff Recruitment:
--Anthony Jones was hired as an Emergency Response Consultant and has deployed to Haiti.
--Azim Akhtar was hired as the Operations Coordinator and will deploy to Haiti in the coming weeks.
--Key local staff have been hired.
--Positions are posted for: Head of Mission, Finance Director, Emergency Shelter Coordinator, and Income Generation Coordinator.

Kate Paik commented on the three days of remembrance in Haiti, Feb 12-14 which was "to stop and reflect on the past month of survival. Many were dressed in white and spent the three days, usually from 6 am until 1 or 2 pm, at church singing and praying. It [was] a time to gather their strength from God to go on still once more."

With recent reports indicating that 75 percent of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, will need to be rebuilt; volunteers soon will be needed to go to Haiti. Volunteer teams are beginning to mobilize by filling out the registration form.

Through Justice for our Neighbors clinics across the country, UMCOR is helping Haitian immigrants register for the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) the US government has offered. A workshop was held in New York City on Wednesday to educate people about how to apply.

In addition to health kits, this week, volunteers began assembling and shipping layette kits and birthing kits to address the basic needs of babies born in displaced persons camps in Haiti.


UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit You can donate to any project by placing a contribution in the offering plate at a local United Methodist church; by sending a check to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068; or by calling 1-800-554-8583, where credit card donations are accepted. You can also give online by clicking on any of the "Give Now" links. UMCOR is exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and qualifies for the maximum charitable contribution deduction by donors.

And, please pray for those who are hungry, displaced, sick or in poverty because of these and other natural and human-made disasters, and for the workers who minister to them.


BE SURE TO RECEIVE OUR WEEKLY EMAILS. MAKE UMCOR YOUR BUDDY! Some Internet Service Providers like AOL, Yahoo!, Hotmail, and Juno use email filtering software that allows you to add email addresses to a "buddy," "trusted," "safe," or approved list. Please add to your list so that our messages don't end up in "junk mail" or the "trash."

United Methodist Committee on Relief
General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church
Room 330, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115
Voice Phone: 1-212-870-3816; FAX: 1-212-870-3624

UMCOR. Be There. Be Hope.
UMCOR's mission is to alleviate human suffering-whether caused by war, conflict, or natural disaster-with open minds and hearts to all people.

Western Jurisdiction: Promoting Operation Resurrection 2010 - A Compassionate Response to the Earthquake from the Western Jurisdiction

Methodist Church in Hong Kong: Collected $87,500 from church members to support UMCOR’s relief efforts in Haiti.

Brentwood United Methodist Church: Hosted a concert headlined by Christian artists, Point of Grace and Mark Schultz. The concert raised more than $50,000.

Mission Response Center: Delivered $102,657 in kits to UMCOR Sager Brown. NASCAR shared some shipping equipment and the trailer was loaned by Petty Enterprises.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Union Mission/ Savannah GA

Do you know of the ministry of Michael Elliott at Union Mission in Savannah GA? Check out this blog entry about Simple Acts of Kindness

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mission Devotions

Just Do It

The Psalmist says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95: 7,8).

The church service – in which I preached – was over and an elderly gentleman, with a wrinkled face and silver grey hair slowly approached me. His trembling hand took hold of mine and said, “Young man! I am glad you are serving God at this age (I was in my 20s then). When I was like you, God called me to serve him but I told him that I would do so in my later years. After some years, he again called but I still procrastinated.”

Then, with moist eyes and trembling voice, he said, “I am an old man now and my strength is gone. Please tell me what can I do for Christ now?” After encouraging him that God is able to use us in spite of our age and our limitations, I left the place with a heavy heart. Imagine the guilt and pain of this man, who after a long and arduous journey, has come to the end of the road, only to realize that he has taken the wrong one and that too willfully.

Prabhu serves in India

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mission Devotions

“Amazing Love”

1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

Editor’s Note: Trinity on the Hill Outreach actively supports and sponsors outreach in Harrisburg which is housed at St. Luke UMC. That church is a struggling congregation, yet our mission funding and active laity make outreach possible in this challenging neighborhood. Further, a strong Methodist mission connection is established as the churches work together sharing the love of Christ in a neighborhood which needs all of us.

Working with boys and girls in Harrisburg at St. Luke UMC is a rewarding experience. Weekly I prepare a short Bible lesson relating to the monthly theme. Love and relationship with God as expressed 1 John 4:19 was our starting point.
Marsha Jones developed the relationship theme by teaching the children an uplifting praise song, Here I Am to Worship. Another volunteer choreographed liturgical movements to enhance the song. Each of these parts came together by the power of the Holy Spirit as we celebrated our first worship service. Parents and friends joined the children for dinner and worship filling the sanctuary. Various children took leading roles in the service as ushers, acolytes, responsive readers, and singers. You could feel the power of the Holy Spirit as the service built to a crescendo as the children lined each aisle singing and swaying to the praise music. I was overcome with tears of joy witnessing God’s amazing love at work in the hearts of these children.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Recent Mission Devotions

“The Great Commission”
Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus proclaims to his disciples, “Go and make disciples of ALL nations…teach them to obey everything I have commanded YOU.”

I have learned that one of the most important parts of my growing faith is serving. I believe you cannot have an active faith without some aspect of serving or mission work in your life. Not serving for self, but serving for Jesus Christ and proclaiming his words and works to all we encounter, whether this is in your school, in your house, or on the barren streets of Africa.

I had a great opportunity to be involved with a ministry deep in the Bronx of New York City two summers ago. I was able to become close and share stories with several teenagers my age that grew up on the streets of New York. Each of them overcame odds by avoiding drugs, gangs, and violence. Seeing each of them actively seek the Lord amidst constant shootings, drugs and peer pressure gave me so much wisdom on living a faithful lifestyle.

These teenagers were vital for my faith because they taught me something that I NEEDED in my faith at a specific time in my life. That is how mission work goes; we preposterously go to bless someone, yet that person blesses us beyond imagination. This is why I believe that serving and missions is one of the core components to actively living a lifestyle like that of Jesus Christ.
Blake (a college student)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Children's Consignment Sale Benefits Mission!

I'ts true-- I'm not a shopper! Never have been, and likely never will be one. But I'm thrilled to be a retailer twice a year as this sale is so beneficial to mission efforts here and around the world. Think of a church putting on a sale with 300 consignors, computerized check out with 60,000-70,000 items offered, and thousands of people from the community attending the two day event and you get the idea.

The Trinity on the Hill Children’s Consignment Sale (TOTH CCS) is held twice a year in the spring and fall on the church property located at 1330 Monte Sano Avenue in Augusta, Georgia. Proceeds from the sale are divided between the seller (60%) and the TOTH CCS (40%). The net proceeds retained by the church are used to support the local, national and international missions of Trinity Outreach Ministries. In addition, at the discretion of the consignor, any unsold items may be donated to TOTH CCS to be used in various missions projects.

We're gearing up again, and if you want to be part of it now's the time to sign on as we prepare for the March 12-13 event. Find below a few of the key dates or go to
Children's Consignment Sale for all the details and sign up.

Spring 2010 Sale
Sale Dates
Friday, March 12
9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 13
8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. (selected items 50% off)

Thursday, March 11
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Consignor Registration
January 25 - February 28

Barcode Ordering
January 25-March 7

Scheduled Drop-Off
March 8-10

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mission Conference-- Mission Challenge

Our missions conference at my church, an annual event we call Trinity Outreach Celebration, was PHENOMENAL this year! We had some great preachers with compelling stories, mission training, and a service day that worked our people all over the Augusta/CSRA.

What capped it all off was Sunday morning worship with some international music, an incredible band, and a huge youth choir singing Leeland's "Follow You." But it didn't end there as Rev. Nick Elliott, recently retired after 10 years leading the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission for the southeast, stepped up with a sermon that our church members are still talking about. One long time member and leader of the church, the type guy I appreciate because he isn't prone to empty flattery but tells the truth in love, said "I believe it was one of the most meaningful and effective services Trinity has had." That's astounding because Nick told the truth about hunger, disaster, and need in the world, and our response to this as followers of Christ. He didn't back off, as a matter of fact, it's the most uncomfortable many of us have been in worship in some time. But he didn't merely stop at guilt, and instead moved on to grace and to our responsibility. It truly was a powerful morning in worship which has energized our church in mission.

Check out "A Missionary, Me?" Mission Challenge Worship and click on the January 31, 2010 link. You can choose to listen to the audio of the sermon or watch the video of the entire service if you have time. I wonder if you will be as inspired as we are?!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Haiti Early Response Teams

This is a very important 1st hand account from a veteran of disaster response who has extensive training. Know that many volunteers will be needed long term, but take these words to heart:

"Hi everyone. Just back from Haiti and I wanted to put forth a few thoughts to those of you who would like to volunteer. I am still reeling a bit cognitively, so I might not be as smooth or mindful of feelings and such as some would like, so let me apologize if I seem a bit abrupt. My goal is to inform as much as I can so that people are not needlessly traumatized in ways that will either render them useless if they choose to go (and hence, a burden on the relief efforts since they will need assistance themselves) and/or psychologically scarred more than they imagine they could be.

1) It is absolutely key and essential that ONLY people who have had large-scale and severe disaster experience go over at this point, right now. Many of you know that I have been to Sichuan--have had many experiences with large hurricanes, Katrina, etc., but I cannot tell you how horrendous and very different this situation is right now. There is no infrastructure....if you run out of water, you face dehydration. If you run out of food you face hunger. If you get hurt, you risk high infection within a day or two, and no medical support. I was there with a team of doctors, in one of the few medical hospitals up and running, but there is essentially no ability for you to be care-flighted or returned to the US or Dominican Republic should an emergency arise. The airport is frequently shut down, and you will not be a priority for the military or anyone else to help you. "They" are busy doing the mission they have set out in front of them, and communication and the ability to get help is extremely limited.

2) Rehab needs. The docs I work with pretty much agree that head injuries are at a minimum, in that the people with them have essentially died, or will soon die, (if they are severe). Amputations: Yes...many, many, many. We were doing surgeries almost 24 hours a day....mostly amputations. Unfortunately many of the people who have had amputations have already become infected within a day or two of the surgery (remember essentially no aftercare...they are sleeping outside (which actually seems quite smart, given our earthquake the other day, which personally was terrifying being indoors for...)). Any how...many people who had amputations or wound care immediately after the earthquake are having to have higher amputations due to the infections. The docs I flew back with came to the consensus that if 30% of the people they operated on survive, they will be lucky. Spinal cord aftercare, no adaptive equipment, very limited family left to care for them (if any) can imagine the immediate outcome. EVERYONE I spoke to had family killed or missing.

As a rehab psychologist, I used all the skills I know. Suicide prevention, letting those with amputations know they will still be loved and beautiful or a "man".....holding the hand of someone yelling in pain and soothing them, etc., etc. However, these skills alone -- without disaster experience to help give you the emotional steel you need to cope with the situation you are in -- will not be sufficient. Not right now.

My recommendations are these: Those with SERIOUS disaster experience, consider deployment, but make it short. Know that it will be more severe than you can even imagine. Even the tsunami was in a country where you could find some infrastructure...somewhere. Here--there is nothing. For the first time in my life I truly had to consider survival situations. Yes, my organization had supplies and contacts, but water goes missing and the next shipment of water is on a plane not allowed to land in the airport...

If you do not have disaster experience, this is NOT the disaster to begin with. Volunteer stateside, providing support to people and organizations who are doing good work. OR -- think about deployment months and months from now, when (or if) an infrastructure is there, so you can have the support that is needed.

Bless you all with your desire to help. There will be a way to do sure you plug yourself into something that will allow you to function during and afterwards, rather than becoming another victim of this situation."

Cheers -- Jeanne

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mission Event Augusta GA

Trinity Outreach Celebration

About the Celebration
January 27-31, 2010
The Trinity Outreach Celebration is held each year to celebrate the giving and service of the church during the previous year in mission and to hear the challenges and opportunities of the coming year in outreach. During TOC 2010 you will hear inspiring messages, uplifting music, mission updates and reports and receive information on ways you may become more active in outreach in 2010.

This Year's Speakers
Rev. Nick Elliot, UM Volunteers in Mission, South Carolina - Featured Guest Preacher
Nate Ledbetter, FCS Urban Ministries, Atlanta
Doug Neel, AgriMissions, Crockett, Texas
Esaho Kipuke, Kipuke Ministries, Togo, Africa
Mike Cooper, preparing to enter a Muslim country in the 1040 window
Rcik Herring, Augusta Urban Ministry
Michael Schaefer, Harrisburg Family Medical Clinic, Augusta

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, January 27
Wednesday Night Supper - 5:00-6:00 p.m. Enjoy a delicious supper of fried chicken with all the fixins. Click here to make your reservations by noon on January 25.

Mission Celebration Worship - 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Dr. Esaho Kipuke will deliver a message and the children's choirs will perform.

Thursday, January 28
Supper - 5:00-6:00 p.m. in Wesley Hall Reservations must be made by Monday, January 25, 2010 at noon. Click here to make a dinner reservation.

Christian Community Development Training - 6:00-8:00 p.m. Nate Ledbetter, associate director of Family Consultation Service (FCS) Urban Ministries in South Atlanta, will lead this training which will target ways to increase the connection between church and the local community in Christian Community Development. Local partners are invited to attend.

Friday, January 29
Supper - 5:00-6:00 p.m. in Wesley Hall Reservation must be made by Monday, January 25, 2010 at noon. Click here to make a dinner reservation.

Agricultural Missions Training - 6:00-8:00 p.m. Doug Neel, associate director of AgriMissions, will lead "AgriMissions 101." Doug has extensive experience in agricultural missions, community development, evangelism and church planting. This session will involve laity and clergy and should be helpful to a church or individual considering agricultural missions.

Saturday, January 30 - Day of Service
Local mission projects for all ages and stages. View the list of available work sites here or look for the sign-up sheets in the Gathering Area.

Breakfast - 8:00-8:30 a.m. Pastries, coffee and drinks in Wesley Hall

Departure for work sites - 8:30-8:45 a.m. Break into groups and leave for various work sites

Serve - 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Serve Christ and the community - Be the HANDS of Christ!

Sunday, January 31
Sunday School - 9:45-10:45 a.m. Hear from these great speakers:

Mike Cooper - preparing to enter the 1040 window in a Muslim country - Open Door Class (A004)
Jim Dickens - Action Ministries - Adult Couples and Singles Class (A267)
Michael Schaefer - Harrisburg Family Medical Clinic - Robert Taylor Class Chapel (A151)
Nick Elliott - retired director of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction - Choir Room (B242)
Mission Challenge Worship - 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Featuring New Creation and Love Unlimited Youth Choirs. Rev. Nick Elliott is preaching. Be prepared to hear God's call and become the HANDS of Christ!

Find Your Place in Trinity Outreach
As we consider the future, we are faced with the great need to fulfill the Great Commission. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to take yet another step in our financial giving and our service. Outreach is a vital part of the continuum of worship, prayer, discipleship, fellowship and evangelism. This primary call of Christ inspires us to consider "over and above " financial giving in support of Trinity Outreach.

At the conclusion of worship on January 31, you will be asked to turn in your financial pledge or "Faith Commitment" for February 2010-March 2011. Click here to fill out the card online. This is a covenant between you and God as you continue to follow Christ in mission service.

In a similar manner, the "Life and Service Commitment" affords the opportunity to commit to mission participation. Both your financial giving and your service are integral. Click here to fill out the card online.

For more information about Trinity Outreach and Missions contact Rev. Scott Parrish at Trinity on the Hill UMC.