By Ansley Brackin
Covington First UMC excitedly jumped on the bandwagon when United Methodist Churches embraced Mike Slaughter’s mission, Change the World Day. This year people can enjoy all that this event has to offer at the church on October 25th.
Change the World Day provides opportunities to take part in evangelism, community service and family fun. Each year Covington First uses the event proceeds to fight hunger in Newton County, where the church’s food pantry alone feeds 80-100 hungry families a week.
The day starts at 8:30AM with the annual Steeple Chase fun run and 5K, where runners travel through the historic parts of the town and pass the steeples of Covington First UMC, First Baptist Church, and First Presbyterian Church.
Afterwards a giant Community Service Fair takes place. This is a free event that hosted over 80 booths last year. Many attendees leave the fair with new knowledge of local health, educational, and welfare services that they were unaware of before. Services such as free health screenings, blood drive, and flu shots will also be available.
Change the World Day coordinator and church communicator Claudia Minge, explains the impact of bringing so many resources together.
“We want to bring awareness to the community of what we need right here in our town.”
Changing the world one town at a time is the theme surrounding the fall festivities. Gifts of Grace is another segment of Covington’s Change the World Day. Those in need can visit tents to receive clothing, food, and even haircuts and showers. Prayer tents are also set up where visitors can pray with volunteer clergy from participating churches and be given a donated bible.
These gifts come from the hard work of many helping hands. Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops pitch in, as well as surrounding agencies and businesses like Walgreens and Rite Aid. Coats, sweaters, socks, and other clothing essentials are collected year round. Involved churches commit to collecting certain objects and devote the year to collecting between 500-1000 of that item.
Clergy and congregants of several surrounding churches from a variety of denominations dive into the community through these outlets of service on this action-packed day. Among these is a large handful of United Methodist Churches, including Wesley Chapel UMC, Julia A. Porter UMC, Connexion Church, Jovejoy UMC, Prospect UMC, Covington Mill UMC, Shiloh UMC, Red Oak UMC, Grace UMC, and Mt. Pleasant UMC.
“It’s nice to look across the parking lot and see all of these denominations working together,” says Minge, who also sees Change the World Day as an opportunity for churches to promote themselves.
“We can’t reach everybody alone,” she adds.
Covington First UMC also works with St. Andrews Harvest of Hope in McDonough. The organization focuses on collecting slightly imperfect produce from farmers that can’t be distributed to grocery stores. The church receives a large truck of the fruits and vegetables for what they call the “Produce Drop”. It is bagged and passed out to those in need.
Covington First UMC and its family of world changers find continuous amazement in the success of Change the World Day each year, powered “completely by the goodness of people’s hearts”. The congregations are vibrant supporters of Mike Slaughter’s vision.
“Somehow,” Minge believes,” we have changed a little part of the world.”