A MOMENT FOR MISSION
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you." Isaiah 43:1b-2a, NRSV
"Everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve," said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
Better Community Development, (BCD), a social outreach ministry of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church, Little Rock, Arkansas, is putting that philosophy into action. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for low-income, underserved, disadvantaged and at-risk children youth and families.
Since 1981, BCD has served the disadvantaged of the city's 12th Street Corridor. Originally founded as Black Community Developers, in 2010, the organization changed its name to reflect the inclusive nature of its programs. Its motto is "People standing together to empower our community!"
Recently, BCD teamed up with United Methodist-related Philander Smith College — also in Little Rock — to offer the Religious Life Service Learning Internship. The internship, which takes place in a non-profit or religious setting, helps students to determine their vocation in the church. Interns explore questions of value, faith, meaning and vocation.
Supported by the annual Human Relations Day offering, the community developer program traces its roots to Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church, which continues to reach out to its neighbors today. When we give to this special offering, we share "hearts full of grace."
Great Physician, we joyfully participate in your ministries that bring healing to the mind, the body and the spirit. Use these gifts to restore broken relationships, mend broken bodies and provide spiritual strength to the weary. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: First Sunday after the Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord - God, our heavenly Father, you welcome us as sons and daughters through baptism in Christ. Your Holy Spirit lives in our hearts and burns away what is not pleasing to you. Just as Jesus turned to you in prayer, help us to seek your will continually. May our offerings support the work of this church, lifting up your hope and new life in our community. We dedicate ourselves to serving you through your beloved Son, Jesus. Amen. (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22)
In the 1700s, John and Charles Wesley visited prisoners at Oxford Castle in England, sharing food, medicine and Holy Communion. Those founders of Methodism began a rich tradition that continues today in The United Methodist Church.
During the liturgical season of Epiphany, we celebrate the manifesting of God's light to the world.
Next Sunday is Human Relations Day, an opportunity to focus on how God's light continues to shine through ministries like Youth Offender Rehabilitation, Community Developers self-improvement programs and United Methodist Voluntary Services community advocacy projects.
Your gifts on Human Relations Day will support an outreach program of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas The church sponsors a residential and outpatient program for men and women with addictions. Graduates of the program participate in an eight-week course that provides training for unemployed or underemployed people.
Laura Duarte, a former Hoover client who now works with addicts, said, "They're awesome. They loved me when I didn't even love me."
About her role today at Hoover, she adds, "I'm grateful."