Mar 26, 2021 | John W. Coleman

Bethel Hill UMC partners with Help Build Hope

Founded in 1770, Bethel Hill UMC in Lansdale, Pa., the state’s second oldest Methodist church, may be 250 years old. But it can still find new ways to serve in mission, especially when a viral pandemic demands adaptability.

Mission-minded members enjoy taking trips each year to work on building projects that help others. But while the pandemic has prevented that joyful experience lately, they found a new way to help build a home for distant neighbors by doing it at home…in the church’s parking lot, that is.

Their Servants At Work (SAW) youth and adult mission team is collaborating with Help Build Hope, a program of CrossRoads Missions, in Louisville, Ky., to construct the frame and interior walls of a new home to be donated to a needy, deserving family in the Lehigh Valley.

The one-weekend endeavor will happen April 9-11, just after Easter. It will require up to 100 volunteers or more, all equipped with masks, work gloves, safety goggles and refillable water bottles.

They will need 20 workers on Friday at about 4 PM to cut, sort and stack purchased and delivered wood. They’ll need 80-100 workers on Saturday to build the frame and interior walls. And the full battalion of builders will be needed on Sunday morning, after outdoor worship, to finish and load it all up for transporting. Of course, strong, muscular bodies will be a much-needed asset, but all abilities are welcome.

Bethel Hill UMC’s UM Men have continued to meet monthly for a Saturday fellowship breakfast, even during the pandemic. Here some of them gather with their pastor, the Rev. Sue Ketterer.  The group will serve breakfast to the volunteers who gather there to work on Saturday, April 10.  John Coleman photo
A special Sunday send-offvolunteer

Before they wave goodbye to their handiwork, they plan to temporarily assemble the exterior walls so all can envision the outcome of their project. They will dedicate the home, praise God for this modern miracle, inscribe Bible verses and words of encouragement onto the frame, take some photos no doubt, and then disassemble the exterior walls and load it onto the truck.  

But first, they will pray for the recipient family and leave a Bible for them, recommending it as the best key to open one’s door to a happy home.   

Help Build Hope home building project

Of course, as with many inconveniences during this COVID-tide, there are at least a few silver linings. One is the invaluable introduction some members will get if they’ve never been part of a work team on a mission trip. “You will miss the long drive, mass sleeping arrangements and awkward shower facilities,” say organizers, “but you will enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, as well as the fellowship and the Spirit of the Lord.” 

More volunteers, prayers, donations needed

Everyone age 5 and up is welcome, with parental accompaniment required for kids under age 12. Volunteers from some of Bethel Hill’s Mission Link of partner churches will pitch in, as more volunteers, with and without constructions skills, are sought. Register here to help You can also bring a donation with you.

Also needed: lots of prayers (especially for good weather!) and generous donations to help defray the hefty cost for the wood and supplies. (Send checks to Bethel Hill UMC, 2000 Bethel Rd., Lansdale, PA 19446. Memo line: “SAW 2021” Or give online to support Bethel Hill UMC’s SAW ministry.

The Rev. Sue Ketterer, pastor, will rely on a capable leadership team, led by members Les Brown, Frank Harris and Elaine Smith. And NEWSpirit Communications plans to be there to cover this remarkable, home-based mission adventure.