With the help of a Connectional Ministries Gap Grant, Rev. Cassie Rapko, associate pastor of Mt. Zion UMC in Marietta, organized a softball tournament fundraiser that brought in more than $1,500 for MUST Ministries in Cobb County.
Mt. Zion UMC, Glenn Memorial UMC in Atlanta, and Eastminister Presbyterian participated in the tournament and the churches donated what they earned from entrance fees, concessions, and individual contributions to MUST.
Rapko, a provisional elder, organized the fundraiser as part of her Fruitfulness in Ministry Project. Those looking to be ordained as a full connection Deacon or Elder must present a project that demonstrates fruitfulness in carrying out the church’s mission of “Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World”, a requirement added to the Book of Discipline in 2012.
Rapko had two goals in mind when considering this project. She wanted to find a better, low-pressure way to include young families, especially young men. She also wanted to form a stronger relationship between the surrounding churches in Cobb County who support MUST Ministries.
MUST Ministries is an organization that works to aid the homeless in Cobb and Cherokee County. Money donated to the ministry goes towards providing those in need with food, shelter, and employment. It also helps to keep MUST Ministries up and running.
While Glenn Memorial UMC is not based in Cobb County, members quite literally stepped up to the plate when another church had to cancel at the last minute.
“The day was sunny, warm, and perfect,” Rapko shared. “We had more than enough people show up for the tournament, and everyone had a very Christ-like attitude during the day.”
The GAP Grant from Connectional Ministries paid for the rental of the field at Roswell Area Park.
“These funds helped us to make this tournament a reality and helped pay for the overhead,” Rappko explained. “That way any money that we raised from entrance fees, selling concessions, and donations could go straight to MUST Ministries rather than to paying for the field.”
The event included a double elimination tournament, along with a devotion shared before the championship game. At the end of the day Glenn Memorial was crowned the winner.
“This project helped members of my congregation connect with each other,” Rapko said.
Several who had never met each other before the tournament made plans to continue getting together to play softball.
Bonds between the other churches were also formed. Rapko hopes the churches remain connected so they can “continue to work together for the benefit of the community.”
“Folks were able to see that the body of Christ is bigger than just those in their small circle and bigger than their own church,” Rapko said. “It was a great time and we wouldn't have been able to do it without the Gap Grant!”
Connectional Ministries provides mission and ministry related grants to North Georgia United Methodist Churches, organizations, and/or related agencies. "Gap" grants are intended to help local congregations in closing a funding gap in a pinch.