North Georgia, South Georgia churches find common ground in ministry
By DEBBY STIKES
In a time when mission statements are encouraged, written, and often put in a drawer and ideas of building bridges and cooperative ministry is talked about, but never put into action, Riverside United Methodist Church in Macon and Griffin First United Methodist Church are proving you can build a bridge to another conference and to the world.
Beginning in early 2012, a group of women from both churches began a quest to travel to Baldwin, La., to work in the UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) warehouse. “This trip is on the ‘bucket list’ of several women so we decided to make it happen,” said Kit Benson who has ties with both churches and with both the North Georgia Conference and the South Georgia Conference.
Kit and her husband, Alan, served at Griffin First United Methodist Church for 14 years. After his retirement, he began working at Riverside UMC on a part time basis. The idea of putting together a group was easy for Kit. She contacted members of both churches, she contacted the UMCOR warehouse and the date for the trip was set. A team of 5 members from Riverside and 5 members from Griffin First, along with Kit who makes the 11th team member, will travel to Louisiana in June 2013.
Travel expenses and a donation for UMCOR were important to the group and as was working together. For the past three years Riverside UMC ladies have been crocheting and knitting caps, hats, and scarves for different ministries in the Macon area. Ladies from Griffin joined in the effort this year and the group has crocheted and knitted ear warmers, hats, caps, scarves, and dish towels to sell during the holiday season. There are all sizes, shapes, and colors of every item!
The UMW Shopping Spree at Griffin First was held on November 17, and almost $1,200 was raised through this effort. Riverside UMC took the remaining items and will be selling them in Macon.
“We really are building bridges,” said Kit. “It has been a wonderful experience using the connection of the United Methodist Church to bring together a group of women who are dedicated to missions. This will be a great trip and the beginning of more joint efforts between these two churches and these two conferences.”