United Methodist Day at the Philadelphia Zoo, Aug. 16, was a great success as hundreds of conference members and guests flocked to the nation's oldest zoo amid thousands of other visitors on a temperate, sunny day. There they marveled at, learned about and maybe even conversed with captive members of the animal kingdom, including perhaps descendants of Noah's ark.
"I think this was pretty good for the first time," said United Methodist Men's president Ross, who organized this event and others like it. The 289 people who printed and brought the online "UM Coupon" saw their admission price reduced from $20 to $12, although the zoo offered no rebate to the UM Men as other local destinations have done.
"In the future I would like to receive a $3 rebate for UMM ministries," said Brightwell, who also asked conference leaders and pastors for suggestions on the best times of the year for a future UM Day at the Zoo. "The zoo is open year round; so this is not necessarily only a summer event," he wrote. "If you have any thoughts on timing and other aspects of United Methodist days at the Zoo, the Phillies, the 76ers or Dorney Park, please let me know."
Many UM visitors who saw the UM Men's banner and EPA Conference welcome table inside the main entrance came over to visit and chat. “It was great to meet fellow United Methodists from around the Conference who stopped by our booth," said Brightwell. "These 'UM Days' here and at the Phillies, the 76ers, and Dorney Park are great opportunities to not only enjoy fun events at big price discounts, but more importantly to gather for Christian fellowship.
"This is especially important for our youth and young adults who can bond with other younger UMs," he explained. "Having these events gives our churches tools with which they can reach out to their communities. We especially thank those churches who have United Methodist Men because they are the ones who help organize these events. I hope people will plan now to support and participate in these events next year." (UM Day at Dorney Park will be June 27, 2015. Mark it in your calendars now and plan to attend.)
John Coleman, EPA Conference Communications Director