By Ansley Brackin
In February of 2015, Bahamas Methodist Habitat will host the first overseas mission trip taken by provisional minister teams. The two groups, who began working towards their ordination in 2013, were so moved by the conference’s global connections highlighted during that year's Annual Conference that they decided to choose a Conference mission "Bridge" as their required provisional mission assignment.
Each provisional team must complete at least three years of mentoring and “developing gifts and graces of ministry” together before they are ordained. In their second year, each team must complete a mission project.
“It’s one of the things that really brings them together,” says Jane Brooks, Director of Ministerial Services.
She adds that the trips also provides the upcoming elders and deacons with experience in organizing a mission trip.
Often provisional groups serve through United Methodist Volunteers in Missions, repairing flood and storm damages or other disaster relief projects. Each team can choose their own act of service, but the two teams, totaling around 25 people, decided to join together for this special opportunity to serve the North Georgia Conference’s Bahamas Bridge.
Provisional deacon Rev. Emily Bagwell, who spent a year at the Bahamas Methodist Habitat before beginning her provisional period, is assisting the teams in organizing the mission, alongside group leaders and full connection elders Revs. Bert Neal, Karla Daniel, Laurie Moeller & Brian Germano. With her guidance, the group is able to confidently prepare financially and spiritually for the trip.
Rev. Marvin Mason, a provisional elder, wanted to involve his congregation at Hoschton UMC in the excitement and support system that comes with preparing for a Bridges mission trip.
“It’s a good way to show support for the Conference emphasis on missions,” says Mason.
He approached the church board with well thought-out fundraising plans and passionate words for the organization that he will soon spend a week volunteering for. The board alone donated five hundred dollars to his trip and approved of his efforts to continue raising money through the church.
One of the most popular events hosted by Hoschton UMC was a Bahaman Barbecue which took place at a congregational favorite, John’s B-B-Q. The restaurant allowed the church to use their whole building, from kitchen to dining area on October 7th to cook a special meal and host a silent auction that sold around eighty tickets.
In July, the church’s Vacation Bible School program of about seventeen children collected one hundred and forty eight dollars.
In total, the church has raised eighteen hundred dollars for the mission trip. The church will continue to raise money in order to support other provisional elders on Mason’s team that need help reaching their goal.
Any extra money collected after all members are paid for will go towards a Fruitfulness Project, another requirement for ordination. Mason has chosen to complete that requisite through supporting the “My Baby Counts Program” at the Choice Pregnancy Center in Flowery Branch.
Join Hoschton UMC for their next provisional team fundraiser on November 15th. Pampered Chef and Origami Owl Jewelry will set up in their fellowship hall at 11a.m. to sell their products, contributing 15% of the sales to the provisional mission trip to the Bahamas Methodist Habitat.