Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Labor for our neighbors<br />Broken Arrow- St. Stephen's: Love sets people free to serve


Labor for our neighbors

Wearing overalls, Pastor Kirt Moelling blesses Broken Arrow-St. Stephen’s members for local mission work. Vinita and Kingfisher churches also stepped out to serve.

Children help, too, in Broken Arrow-St. Stephen's missions. Above is Gracen Ripperger. Trimming hedges are, from left, Chris Rear and Nathan and Matthew Moelling. Many people wore special neon green T-shirts.
Photos by Mark McFadden

Through 23 separate mission projects, 148 people of St. Stephen’s UMC in Broken Arrow performed labors of love April 13 and 14. "That’s 70 percent of our worship attendance engaged in mission," said Pastor Kirt Moelling. "What a wondrous picture of the church: children, youth, and adults — all generations and abilities — serving Christ and community, together!

He quoted, "‘Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.’ (James 2:18) Indeed!"

Set Free To Serve Mission Weekend was the culmination of St. Stephen’s capital stewardship campaign. Rev. Moelling said the weekend was spiritually renewing and fitting for a congregation that embodies the "outward-focused" quadrant of the Conference Strategic Plan.

Saturday began with a commissioning service, with singing and devotion. Sunday began with worship and also commissioning. Many members wore special neon green T-shirts.

At 10 off-site projects, participants did yard work for Meals-on-Wheels clients, extensive ceiling/attic repair, a complete exterior painting of a fire-damaged home, and facility maintenance for Broken Arrow Neighbors. They built an accessibility ramp for a homeowner, planted trees for the city Parks Department, and cleaned up two city parks.

Among the 13 mission projects hosted at St. Stephen’s, the Christian servants:

  • packed weekend Food For Kids bags;
  • cut, sewed, and assembled School Kit bags for UMCOR;
  • wrapped plastic cutlery for Manna Meals;
  • cut out Christmas stockings for Cookson Hills Mission;
  • made placemats for Kairos Prison Ministry;
  • assembled booklets for at-risk school students; and
  • prepared cards for UM missionaries.

Those who received help offered thanks. And some who served said they were more blessed by working than those who benefitted.

"That’s how it works in God’s economy," Moelling said.

"Your timing is perfect!" said the person delivering the placemats to the Kairos event. At the Day Center for the Homeless, staff chorused, "Oh, man, will they be so happy to see this! You don’t know how much this helps!"

"What a labor of love, what a weekend! Actually, what a way of life — as servants of the living Christ!" Moelling exclaimed.

"What a picture of the Church: all ages and abilities, some even hurting and frail in their own bodies, offering the strength they could for God’s Kingdom!"

(Video: http://ssumcba.org/mission-weekend )


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