By: Rev. Karen Finnegan
The 2016 Love Offering for missions has a hands-on component: assembling and donating at least 10,000 health kits for refugees. Ten percent of the financial portion of the Love Offering will then be given to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to distribute to people who have been forced to leave their homes because of human conflict or natural disaster. Minnesota United Methodists have assembled and donated more than 14,300 health kits to date, and they can continue to be given through the remainder of this year (view material and assembly instructions). The heartwarming story below shows how one small congregation donated health kits as a way to honor and remember a beloved longtime member.
On April 21, the congregation of Faith United Church in Ada lost a quiet soul at the age of 94—a man who made a difference in the world and continues to do so.
Marvin spent his entire life in Norman County farming with his brother and sister-in-law on the family farm, and after their deaths he stayed on that farm. Several years ago, the old farmhouse burned, and he lost his dog Suzie in the fire.
Marvin was loyal to his church family, tended a bed of roses outside the pastor’s office window at the church, and almost every Sunday brought something to send to the area food pantry. He was a strong believer in mission work in the area.
In his will, all his assets were to be liquidated and a small percentage of that sum was to be given to Faith United Church, with 11 percent to be designated for mission work by the church.
We are a small group with 20 attending worship on a good Sunday. If we have children, they are someone’s grandchildren or rare visitors.
Once the active members heard about the gift, they began planning how to spend the money wisely—the way Marvin would have wanted. In March, a check was given to the area food pantry at a time when funds were being matched.
Then when the Love Offering request for health kits came, it was embraced with excitement. Members decided to purchase with the mission money from Marvin what was needed to assemble 100 kits.
After worship on a Sunday in June, members ranging in age from 25 to 90 gathered for lunch, fellowship, and to assemble and pack 100 health kits.
In no time, 100 kits were ready to bless the next Sunday and pack in the pastor’s car for the trip to St. Cloud for annual conference. Members are already talking about doing the same thing again next year.
Marvin would approve.
Rev. Karen Finnegan serves Faith United Church of Ada.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church