Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Meal, mobility ministries keep small church nimble


An old habit upstages any fresh resolutions each New Year’s Day at Glencoe United Methodist Church.

Since 1902, the church has served a community dinner every Jan. 1, with one exception. (In 1919, a flu epidemic disrupted the plan.) The town, population 601, is northeast of Stillwater.

More than 400 people attended the 112th New Year’s Dinner. Members of the church, which averages 44 in weekly worship, and other volunteers served a lunch of turkey, chicken pot pie, chicken noodle casserole, black-eyed peas, and more. Musical entertainment was provided. Donations for the meal are used by the United Methodist Women.

The dinner is among an exceptional number of ministries by this small-membership church that lives large. The Glencoe United Methodist Mobility Ministry is another example.

"The Glencoe United Methodist Church does not let size dictate what can be done to help others. They see a need; they fill it to the best of their ability," wrote member Fara Williams.

The Mobility Ministry began in 2010. Retired clergyman Harold Wheeler realized that some people who needed motorized wheelchairs did not have adequate funds or resources to acquire the assistive equipment. He researched the issue and presented his idea about a mobility ministry to the Glencoe Church Council. The Council agreed with Rev. Wheeler.

Thus began the mission: "in the Name of Christ, to provide mobility devices to non-ambulatory persons with few resources in order to encourage a more active lifestyle."

The ministry obtains donations of used motorized wheelchairs and scooters. Volunteers repair and clean the devices, which are then provided for free to people who need mobility assistance.

Some chairs are destined for long-term use. Sometimes a chair is needed for only a brief time, while a client awaits a special order or because a person has a short-term medical need.

Kenneth Brake, also a founding member of the Mobility Ministry, has used a power chair for years. He serves as resident expert for the project. Brake also provides use of his workshop as the central storage and repair location.

A $10,000 Petree Grant in 2010 gave an early boost to the Glencoe United Methodist Mobility Ministry. (Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation has information about grant applications.) In 2013, the ministry received a $1,000 grant from Central Rural Electric Cooperative.

Recently, the ministry expanded to include donated hospital beds and other assistive equipment such as walkers and manual wheelchairs. Team members have traveled across the state to pick up and deliver equipment.

"All this is done for the glory of God," Williams stated. "It is amazing what ‘just a small church’ can do with hard work, determination, and a passion for helping others."


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Harold Wheeler, left, and Kenneth Brake discuss repairing motorized wheelchairs for Glencoe Church’s Mobility Ministry.




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