Rethink Church with the Justa CenterArticles, DC Archive Friday, June 1st, 2012
By Mike Eyer, Spirit of Hope UMC
Spirit of Hope (SOH) committed to a volunteer ministry at Justa Center about 4 years ago with Eleanor Peters as the initial group leader. The volunteers first began providing foot spa treatments for Justa Center clients, along with new diabetic socks. The initial ministry activity included volunteers from a Moose lodge as well. Soon after, a professor from Midwestern University began taking medical students to provide podiatric treatments. On May 26, 2012 Spirit of Hope volunteers spent the morning at Justa Center in central Phoenix as part of a national “Rethink Church” campaign in UMC congregations, an emphasis to get members to take “church” outside the walls of their congregations.
While clients of Justa Center enjoyed soaking their feet in foot spas, SOH volunteers visited with them. While planning for this event, we talked about the upcoming “Rethink Church” event with Justa clients about needs that homeless people have. “If we were to fill gallon-sized Ziploc bags with items, what would you suggest we put in them?” Confirmands from SOH heard the needs and took up the challenge. They raised donations and filled Ziploc bags with the suggested items. Another participant contacted the Conair Corporation in Glendale, a manufacturer of hygiene items. Conair donated $900 worth of products.
Scott Richey, Director and Pastor at Justa Center, suggested that the surplus items collected after all the Ziploc bags were filled, should be donated to Chaplaincy for the Homeless. The Chaplaincy group was contacted, and were eager to receive the toiletries, hygiene materials, and socks that were collected.
In addition to regular Saturday foot spa ministry that Spirit of Hope members volunteer at, for the Change the World weekend, they also provided a hamburger lunch for the Justa Clients. Their counterparts from the Moose Lodge, and a young couple who provides lunch for Justa Center clients every Saturday, also helped out. Guitar and banjo music was played, featuring all kinds of songs from gospel and praise music to popular country music. A highlight happened when we were singing, “I’ll Fly Away.” A Justa Center client who I had never heard talk and often stayed in a corner all covered up with a coat and scarf, started to shuffle to the song. One of the Spirit of Hope women responded by beginning to dance with her. They were both just dancing and really enjoying the spirit of the music. At that moment, there was nothing but joy.
The day was beautiful. The food, the music, and the people all gathered together as God commanded to love each other. By rethinking what we do, our volunteer efforts were transformed into a day of community and fun.
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