ABIDE inspires Oakland UMC to reach out
By Barbara Nissen, special contributor
Oakland United Methodist Church in Topeka found a way to put its experience with the ABIDE program to work in the community. They started with children.
|Oakland UMC in Topeka|
ABIDE is a several-month process to help small-membership churches rediscover what it means to be abiding with Christ.
“Part of the ABIDE process is to get to know and engage with our neighbors,” Pastor Georgia Hale said. “We decided to start with the children. So many of them are hungry.”
The 125-year-old church with an average attendance of 49 is located in a working class neighborhood that was once its own community called Oakland. The neighborhood now is populated with younger people, single parents, immigrants and lots of rental properties. Nearly 85 percent of school-age children receive free lunches. So, that’s where the Oakland ABIDE team turned its attention.
In addition to supporting the BackPack program, which provides food for 1,000 area children at risk for going hungry over the weekend, Oakland tried a new thing. They offered Vacation Bible School every Saturday afternoon during Lent for children in the neighborhood.