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Opening Our Doors


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. Read the rest of this entry »

A Different VBS

Cokesbury United Methodist Church provided an opportunity for children and youth to participate in a different type of Vacation Bible School Saturday at Fox Pond Park.

“We are taking the vacation out of Vacation Bible School,” Rev. Dennis Peay said. “It’s an effort to practice what we preach.”

Children came to the park and practiced giving back to the community and environment by cleaning up trash, raking and creating a more beautiful surrounding for people to enjoy. They also had fun and fellowship through music, singing, a prayer walk, games and a picnic lunch.

“When we clean up we’re helping the earth,” said Ellie Atkinson, who starts third grade next month. “I saw a bottle when we were driving in and I can’t wait to go pick it up.”

The message of this particular Vacation Bible School program coincides with a sermon series Peay has introduced to his congregation. The series includes a message that emphasizes what it means to be a disciple.

Cokesburry United Methodist is a 227-year-old church which began seeing worship attendance dwindle two years ago.

“There was not a lot of direction on what the vision of our church was,” Peay said. “I was introduced to a program called ‘Abide’ through denomination leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

ABIDE Impacted My life

ABIDE has had a wonderful impact on my life. It brought me closer to Christ and through Him I have been able to use the knowledge learned in ABIDE to become a leader in areas where I never felt God could use me before, such as leading my church's ABIDE team and teaching women's groups. Thank you for this program.

In Christ,

Beth Murphy, Team member 
Cedar Grove-Sunshine Charge, NC

ABIDE was Life-Changing for our Team

Though entering into the ABIDE Process with some trepidation, we have found it to be life-changing for our five-member team. It is amazing the bond we have establish between us. We hope that we can spread this love and enthusiasm with others. We also have great optimism about the potential impact on our small church and community as we head into the future of this ministry - with God's help.

ABIDE Team of Big Springs United Methodist Church, Kansas

Restored Focus and Purpose

The ABIDE program has brought a renewed sense of excitement and hope to our church. We were already a maintaining church, but leaning towards a nostalgic downturn. ABIDE is refocusing our hearts and minds on the purpose of the church and helping us look once again to the future. Our group is deepening their life in Christ, and seeking God's will for themselves and our church. All of this after only 3 months in the program. I can hardly wait to see what God will do here by the time the program ends! Thanks SLI, for helping us ABIDE in Christ once again.

Debbie Arvelo, Pastor, 
Alden United Methodist Church - 
Alden, Kansas

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