Some incredible things are going on in South Bend, Indiana, through missional group that's been formed at First Brethren Church of South Bend. Local congregant Jennifer Kary shares with us some of what the group has been up to:
More than three years ago Kris Wright and Jennifer Kary accepted the challenge to start a group that would meet during our 2nd hour (i.e., Sunday School) to do missional activities. At that time, we had recently completed a vision session where we came up with the idea of weekly going out into our community to serve and share the love of Jesus with others.
Two years ago, we joined with our junior and senior high school Sunday School class, and they now are part of the missional group.
We intend to “be the church.” We want to serve outside the walls of the church building on a consistent basis.
We try to focus on three areas – our community, our church family and partnering with existing organizations.
During the past year, here are the activities we’ve done in those areas.
• Visited the South Bend Police Department. We wrote thank-you notes and delivered them to the station. We took donuts and a candy bouquet that we put together. The Police Department said they couldn’t remember a time when someone ever visited them in this way.
• Unity Gardens – we learned that our community is “better together” and that it’s important to help each other out. We had been talking about the parable of the soil, so we used the garden to help the youth understand the points of the parable.
• Purple Porch Co-op – we visited the co-op. We talked about the importance of healthy, local food and the importance of supporting our community. We talked about food insecurity and discussed statistics of people in our country and the world that experience starvation.
• Trash pick-up – our youth enjoy visiting our local parks and picking up trash. Almost every time we go, people will stop us and ask us why we’re picking up trash. This gives us an excellent opportunity to share that we are from a church and that we care about our community.
• We believe it’s vital to visit people that are home-bound, to let them know the church has not forgotten them, and to provide encouragement and companionship.
• We visited one couple where the husband showed us his classic car. The kids enjoyed seeing his vehicle – and even sitting in the car!
• We have another couple that we visit a few times each year. Our visits have included watching a movie in the theater room at their assisted living residence; enjoying donuts and hot chocolate, and watching Gaither Homecoming videos.
• We served breakfast at the Friends Class Christmas party. We bought gifts for the class members. (The Friends Class is a Sunday School class for adults with intellectual and other disabilities and those who care for them.)
• We teach the children’s Sunday School class one Sunday a month
• We baked cookies for the Luvability Ministries camp.
• We made valentines to send to our shut-ins.
Partnerships with Organizations
• We want to help organizations that are already doing incredible things on our community
• El Campito Child Development Center – we provide a clothes closet with new clothes purchased with proceeds from a garage sale.
• We delivered Easter baskets to Beacon Children’s Hospital and made meals for the Ronald McDonald House.
• We bought gifts and packed Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes
• We’ve taken meals to Miller’s Vet Center for homeless veterans.
• We’ve taken meals and school supplies to Youth Service Bureau of St. Joseph County
• We delivered Christmas gifts for Real Services (services and programs for the aging)
• We made meals for Hannah’s House (maternity home) and provided diapers.
Special thanks as well to Glen Scott, of South Bend First Brethren, who produced the video about this group.