Jul 12, 2016

During the Annual Conference, June 16-17, some enthusiastic leaders told us how their churches are living out this year’s Annual Conference theme by opening wide their hearts in ministries of outreach and welcome to their communities.

We recorded six short video interviews during a conference session lunch break. In these brief segments, we learn from testimony how local churches in our conference are nourishing their neighbors in body, mind and spirit, while sharing the love and liberating gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ll feature a few on our website each week; but you can view all six by visiting our conference YouTube page.

open arms 2016 ac logo

Two community-minded Lancaster churches are featured in the next two “Open Wide Your Hearts” testimonies, sharing their open-hearted outreach ministries with us:

  • Susan Grimm Mattox proudly tells us how Ross Street UMC is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year by ‘keeping it a hundred ‘ (a popular new urban expression for staying true or being 100% honest). They are donating 100 (and more) units of various items, including clothes, snacks and ice cream sundaes, to local schools, police and fire stations, civic groups and, of course, LUMINA, the Southwest District’s collaborative local missions agency.They also provide space and snacks for Live & Learn, an innovative ministry where church and community members can share their talents by teaching classes in popular crafts and hobbies that anyone can learn–everything from carpentry, jewelry-making and cooking to photography, knitting and crocheting and basic car maintenance.

  • Ruth Daugherty and Connie Brown sing the praises of Grandview UMC’s music director, who created a community children’s choir, inviting students from the neighboring school just across the street to weekly rehearsals. They perform songs and concerts at the church and in the community. And where children lead, parents usually follow; so some families have visited the church as a result of their children’s participation. Grandview is doing a lot for children both at home and abroad. Take a listen to learn more.

How is your church opening wide its heart to its community or to the world? Write to tell us about it, or record a short video clip and send it to us. We may welcome and record more testimonies of heart-opening ministry at future conference gatherings this year–maybe at the Laity Academy in August and the Annual Conference Adjourned Session in October.