Gerald (Jerry) Reifsnyder, part-time Local Pastor at tiny Washington Boro UMC on the Southwest District, is raising donations for a worthy cause through his own personal walk-a-thon.
The Lititz native, who will soon turn 66, took up walking on a treadmill in 2013 for health reasons. He decided to ask church members if they would be willing to sponsor him with donations for Imagine No Malaria. For three years they have supported him. They gave $800 this year, and the church’s mission council added another $200 to total an impressive $1,000.
Reifsnyder tries to work out at the gym three days a week, spending 30 minutes on the treadmill. He typically exceeds 40 miles a year, updating members on his progress, which gets posted on a chart and reported in the church newsletter.
“I was surprised at first by their generosity,” he recalled, “but I showed them a YouTube video on Imagine No Malaria, and now they’re very aware of the disease, the campaign and the needs of the people they’re helping.”
The church has donated about $2,500 to their pastor’s walk-a-thon during his three years there. Now he’s starting a new Bible study that he hopes will encourage even more giving.
Washington Boro is a small, slow-paced town that economically has “seen better days,” said Reifsnyder. But the 57-member church, established on the Susquehanna River in 1835, operates a food bank and is vibrantly involved in mission. The church’s busy website missions page lists support for the local Rescue Mission, UM Global Ministries, Heifer International, Cornwall Manor, a home for orphans and the aged in South India, the conference’s Connectional Ministries Fund, and other beneficiaries.
“For a small congregation, I think they’ve done well in giving,” said Reifsnyder. “I’m proud of them.” And as their Imagine No Malaria donations go up, their beloved pastor’s weight and blood pressure numbers are going down, which makes them proud of him as well.
By John W. Coleman
Eastern PA Conference Communications Director
Raising needed funds and awareness for the Eastern PA Conference’s Imagine No Malaria campaign requires…well, imagination. What is your church imagining or planning or already doing to play its vital role in this important conference-wide global health endeavor? Please, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re about halfway to the Dec. 31 end of the campaign period; and we are getting some reports from and about participating churches. We want more. Please help us.