Homeless people gather outside the Jackson House waiting for Sunday lunches. The effort is supported by several churches including UM Men of Christ of the Hills UMC in Hot Springs Village, Ark.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.––The UM Men organization in Hot Springs Village, Ark., received top honors in the first annual contest to determine the top UM Men organization in the nation.
Dan Ramsey, president of the National Association of Conference Presidents of UM Men, presented a wall plaque and a trophy to a representative of Christ of the Hills UMC during the March 5-8 meeting of UM Men leaders.
A committee of conference and jurisdictional UM Men officers selected the top five local church units, the top district unit and the top annual conference. Only chartered groups were eligible to enter.
Men of Christ of the Hills UMC conduct annual retreats, sponsor sweetheart breakfasts for wives, and annually raise $14,000 for various mission efforts.
“Our focus is to support our church mission to ‘Bring In, Build Up, and Reach Out’,” said Jim Bodge, a leader of organization.
Funds are raised by an annual golf tournament, a church barbecue, a garage sale and a band concert. At Christmas time, the men provide food and deliver it along with gifts to 40 families with 100 children. At Easter and Thanksgiving the men deliver food provided by other church groups.
This energetic group also provides meals, clothing and gifts for the families of transient race track workers, and every Sunday the men provide 200 love lunches to the homeless.
In 2014, UM Men contributed 6,000 volunteer hours and 35 men participated in the “Walk to Emmaus.”“We truly want to make a difference,” concluded Bodge.
UM Men of Wylie (Texas) UMC
UM Men engage in a weekly Bible Study, serve as ushers and offer prayers prior to Sunday morning worship services. In 2014, the men repaired the homes of elderly church members and served lunches to children in a nearby trailer park. They grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for those attending a youth talent show. They renovated the church playground, built six handicap ramps, engaged in prison ministry, and led youth mission trips.
UM Men of Acton UMC in Granbury, Texas
Acton men helped a low-income community recover from a tornado and helped raise $300,000 to convert a house into a community center. The men sponsor an after-school program, provide tutoring and teach English as a second language. They also host a community Easter egg hunt, “trunk or treat” at Halloween, a Thanksgiving meal and a live Nativity scene. Men of this church also make car repairs and annually provide 30,000 pounds of produce for food banks.
UM Men of Chandler (Okla.) UMC
Chandler men annually give away more than 100 hot dogs to people a t a local food pantry. Over the years they have given away more than 6,000 hot dogs. “We shake hands, encourage and try to get to know the people who are at the food pantry,” said UM Men President Richard Covington. “We give them food for their body, as well as food for their spirit.” The men also provide breakfast for 60 veterans, and they give “thank-you” dinners to first responders.
UM Men of Natchitoches (La.) UMC
In 2014, Natchitoches UM men presented two $1,000 scholarships to students at a state university, sponsored a “clay shoot” to rescue Nepali girls and helped raise $10,000 for this mission. The men serve meals to the college men’s and women’s basketball and soccer teams, and hot dogs and chili for young people and food for Meals on Wheels recipients. They also sponsored a Stop Hunger Now event that packaged 10,000 meals.