I Didn't Know That!Have you ever . . .

     . . . heard someone say something at church of which you were totally unaware? Was your response, "I DIDN'T KNOW THAT"?

     That seems to be a regular occurrence here in the church office, so we decided it was important to get all this wonderful information out there somehow.

     Welcome to "I Didn't Know That", a communications blog to tell the stories, show the pictures, and get the word out that Valpo FUMC is doing WONDERFUL thing!

     Are you or your group doing wonderful things? Do you have human interest stories you'd like to share on this blog? Email them to communications@valpofumc.org to get things started.

"God Bless America" Continues to Bless the Scouts by Pamela Gonzalez

Posted by Pamela Gonzalez on OP3er @ 15:03

     You know the expression, "You learn something new every day"? That statement certainly came true for me this week when our organist, Jim Crisman, visited me at my desk. He told me an interested tidbit of information and then told me to look it up online to verify. I was totally blown away!

     On February 11, 2018, we will be honoring boys and girls who are involved in scouting, along with their leaders. The Scouts are near and dear to my heart, because even I was a Brownie, then a Girl Scout, back in the "olden days". Scouting made a big impression on me, and I carry those experiences with me even today.

     Jim asked me if I know who Irving Berlin was. Of course I do! He then told me to look up what happened to the royalties earned from the sale and performance to that song. I read several articles, including some from CNN and the New York Times. I'm going to give you the shortened version of what I read.

     Irving Berlin and his family Russian-Jewish immigrants that settled in the Lower East Side of New York in the early part of the 20th century. The family was very poor. Without going in to a long biography of his life, it suffices to say he grew up with a talent for writing lyrics and songs. In fact, he was one of the most prolific songwriters of the 20th century.

     In 1938, singer Kate Smith asked Berlin to write a song for her to sing for a scheduled radio program. He remembered a song he had written long ago, dug through his old papers, found it, revised it and named it "God Bless America". It became an instant hit.

     Berlin loved America. He thought his song was too important to keep to himself, so he made arrangements with his lawyers to assure that all proceeds to his song would benefit the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. He particularly wanted poor children to benefit from his gift. To date, over 10 million dollars have been given to the Scouts because of his gift. Over 6 million of those dollars have benefitted the poorest areas of New York, which was his wish, as he never forgot the roots from which he came.

     This is an amazing story, one which I have never heard before. As we prepare to honor the Boy and Girl Scouts in our congregation, and their leaders, let's not forget the generosity of Irving Berlin and his love for our country and his dedication to children everywhere.

What, No Fanfare? by Pamela Gonzalez

Posted by Pamela Gonzalez on OP3er @ 15:02

     There are some precious folks in our church who are actively involved in low-key ministries, quietly going about their business meeting the needs of others with absolutely no interest in making a name for themselves, but rather faithfully giving their time and talents to show others the love of Christ. We don’t hear much about their accomplishments because they aren’t a large group of people and they don’t  require much room to do what they do best. Let me tell you about several of these ministries that are headed up by Judy Bornstein.

     We all know that Judy visits the lonely, sick, and dying in area nursing homes and hospitals. She even wrote a book about it! But many don’t know some of the other things Judy, and those I like to call her “Partners in Time”, are involved with.

     Judy heads up the Note Writers’ Ministry. This small group of people send cards and notes to those in our church experiencing a time of illness, loss, or those that can't physically get to church any longer. In fact, my husband recently was a recipient of a beautifully hand-written note when he had his recent knee replacement. That note meant so much to him!

     I bet you had no idea that the Note Writer’s Ministry sent out 239 cards and notes in 2017. And I bet you’d be really shocked to know that since 2009, the Note Writers have sent out 3,756 hand-written cards and notes to people in our church! Just think of all the people who were touched by the love and care they received through this ministry! No fanfare, no parades, just a small group of faithful people quietly going about their business showing the love of Christ to those who are hurting.

     Another ministry Judy is involved with is the Prayer Shawl Ministry. Another small group of ladies meet regularly at Judy’s house to knit and crochet prayer shawls to give to those going through a difficult time in their lives. There are also some women who simply make prayer shawls privately and donate them to the Prayer Shawl Ministry. As each shawl is made, the maker prays for the as-yet unknown recipient, asking God to bring the new owner comfort in their time of need. In 2017, 25 prayer shawls were given away, ministering to the emotional and spiritual needs of the recipients. In fact, since 2008, 411 prayer shawls have been hand-made and handed out. Again, this group receives no fanfare, no parties, no announcements. They simply go about their business, quietly and faithfully ministering to the needs of those that need to get through various difficulties.

     Many of you have probably read or heard call-outs for hand-made scarves to be distributed at Christmas, but are you aware of what happens to those scarves? Again, Judy Bornstein heads up a group of knitters and crocheters in our church that quietly go about creating hand-made scarves throughout the year, turning them in to the Welcome Desk when they are finished. Judy has been spotted at various church meetings with needles or hooks flying like the wind as she works on one of the many scarves she produces throughout the year. In fact, Judy mentioned once that her daughter finishes ONE SCARF EVERY DAY! Amazing! Each scarf then gets a printed prayer attached to it, reminding the future recipient that the thoughts and prayers of our Valpo FUMC church family will be praying for them over the holidays and throughout the winter.

     These scarves are then given to 17 different agencies and non-profits in the Valpo area including four counties in Northwest Indiana. These agencies are: The Caring Place, DaySpring, Hilltop Breakfast Club, Hilltop Food Pantry, Hilltop Walt’s Place, Housing Opportunities, Porter FUMC, Salvation Army, Spring Valley, United Way, Valpo FUMC Foyer (handed out to those coming inside to get out of the cold), The Christian Food Pantry, Valpo FUMC Mitten Tree, Valpo FUMC Rays of Hope, Valpo FUMC Resale Shop, Men’s Homeless Shelter, and First Contact.

     In 2017, a total of 1,531 scarves were hand-made and distributed! If that isn’t amazing enough, take in this statistic: since 2012, 5,949 scarves have been hand-made and distributed! Again, there is no fanfare, nobody is shouting this out from the rooftops, nobody is announcing this with megaphones. Those involved are just quietly and faithfully making scarves one at a time, showing the love of Christ to the needy in our community in a real and practical way.

     The people involved in these ministries are no different than you or me. Some are elderly. Some work. Some have physical ailments. Some are running around with small children. Some are not as busy as you or I, but some are even busier than we are. Yet, they are all taking some of their precious time to knit scarves, crochet shawls and write notes. All these folks have one thing in common: they love the Lord so much they are willing to give of their time and talents to show others the love of Christ.

     If you would like to join these faithful “Partners in Time”, contact Judy Bornstein at jbornstein36@gmail.com. There are no meetings to attend: Judy will simply give you the information you need, provide materials if you need them,and help get you started in a meaningful, joyful ministry.

     If you have been on the receiving end of one of these ministries, we would love to hear your story. Tell us how you were touched by these faithful people by sending an email to me at communications@valpofumc.org with the subject line “What, No Fanfair?” 

Together in Him,
Pamela Gonzalez
Director of Communications
First United Methodist Church of Valparaiso

Why Do United Methodist Men Serve Breakfasts?

Posted by Pamela Gonzalez on OA10er @ 10:31

     When donations are accepted for the United Methodist Men's breakfast, the sign usually states, "Donations used for local missions." There are four core areas that the United Methodist Men support annually:

  1. The Boy Scouts Troop #906 and the Cub Scouts Pack #906
  2. The Men's Homeless Shelter
  3. The Christian Food Pantry
  4. Youth ministry at Valpo FUMC

     There are other causes. Recently, money was donated to the Hoosier Burn Camp that serves Indiana's children, ages 8-18, who have suffered the pain and trauma of being injured and/or disfigured from a fire.

     So, next time United Methodist Men put on one of their famous Pancake Breakfasts, you can know that your donations are going to a wonderful, local cause.

Lotus Reach

Posted by Pamela Gonzalez on OP1er @ 13:54

Through the research of the Moving Forward Task Group, information was forwarded to the Methodist Women’s Resale Shop for follow-up concerning Lotus Reach; an organization that provides clothing for school children of low income families, free of charge. 

Founder, Zel Rau, was a volunteer at Liberty Elementary School. She noticed that some of the children had shoes that were duct taped together and were without basic clothing such as socks, gloves, and coats. Her eyes were opened to the fact that not all children in her seemingly affluent community were adequately clothed. She started a clothes closet at Liberty to keep a supply of clothing for immediate needs. The “closets” have expanded to 7 schools, including Hebron, Thomas Jefferson, Flint Lake and Parkview. Through clothing and monetary donations, Lotus Reach is able to provide new and/or used clothing.

Three times a year, the 7 schools send out forms to qualified parents, asking if their children need clothing and if so, what sizes and types. Forms must be returned within one week. Parents are asked if they want the clothing dropped off at their home or sent to the school. All items are packaged in a paper bag so it is not identifiable.

Zel’s latest project is to purchase a sealed container to store unusable clothing that will be sold to a Pennsylvania company for recycling at 15-20 cents per pound, once 40,000 pounds are accumulated. With this money, Lotus Reach will be able to fund new clothing purchases as needed.

We are pleased to announce that a partnership has been formed between Lotus Reach and the Methodist Women’s Resale Shop, located across Chicago Street at Asbury Centre. 

Twice a year, the Shop changes out the entire store from one season’s merchandise to the next season and in the past, the leftover clothing has been given to the Salvation Army. Lotus Reach has agreed to take all of the Shop’s remaining out of season clothing and shoes for their closet program and will pick it up when notified of its availability.

Next, a clothing need list will be sent to determine if any of the Lotus requirements can be filled by the Shop before they make new clothing purchases at WalMart.  Lastly, future discussions are already planned to determine other ways that the Shop can assist with additional needs and service to each other. 

This is just another example of how the Methodist Women’s Resale Shop helps in the community and remains a very important ministry of the church.

Thank you,
Kathi T.

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