By: Amanda Yanchury
“New windows in the spring and summer will help get more fresh air in there,” says Justin Ozanne, a project supervisor for Servant Heart Ministries, which offers short-term mission trips.
Ozanne managed a group of 37 youth in grades 10 through 12, and nine adults, who recently came to the Twin Cities on their annual mission trip—and half of them helped repair Simpson United Methodist Church in Minneapolis. One of the group's biggest projects was purchasing and installing more than seven new windows at Simpson. The group, out of Calvary United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, bought the windows with funds from a special missions offering collected at the Kansas church.
Simpson UMC, which also houses the Simpson Center for Servant Ministries, is a very old building. But parishioners were not physically able to make the necessary updates that the building needed. So when Abigail Ozanne, the Minnesota Annual Conference's director of Servant Heart Ministries, heard about a group from Calvary UMC that was looking for a service project, she realized the group might be able to help Simpson UMC, a church she'd worked with in the past. Having been on mission trips each year since confirmation in the seventh grade, the Calvary UMC youth have developed a well-rounded skill set and are able to complete projects requiring hard labor.
"Trips like these show what it means to be a connectional church," Abigail Ozanne says. "We are able to find other UM churches and reach out to help each other."
While about half of the Calvary UMC volunteers were stationed at Simpson UMC, the rest worked on various other projects around the metro area. Some made improvements to North United Methodist Church in Minneapolis. The whole group stayed at Lake Harriet UMC (Minneapolis) during the trip, which took place June 24-28. The youth got a day off on June 27 to rest and enjoy free time, which they used to explore Minnehaha Falls and other local sites.
Aside from the window project, the group took on the task of creating a new sewing room space at Simpson UMC by adding a storage station and a counter that will make the space useable. The volunteers also re-did the tread on a staircase to make it safer, and fixed up and painted some tile flooring in a room. They’ve repainted all of the church’s radiators as well as the baseboard and one wall of an additional room. The group installed donated window air conditioning units in a couple rooms as well, which will help make the rooms functional in the July and August heat.
“With each task they were given, the group took it on with enthusiasm,” Justin Ozanne says. “The team is highly skilled and they are getting it all done.”
The Simpson UMC building is used frequently by many different groups. Updates to the space allow for its ministries to continue and flourish.
Colleen Beebe Purisaca, community engagement coordinator at Simpson, says the church greatly appreciates the service provided by the volunteers.
“The group has blessed us tremendously,” Purisaca says. “They embody the true meaning of servants—showing us what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in service to others.”
Amanda Yanchury is communications assistant for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church