(Rev. Jean Tippit, Board President, QuadW Missional Outreach) - The QuadW Foundation of Dallas, TX has awarded up to $2,600,000 for the expansion of QuadW Missional Internship and Residency programs, as well as the launching of new initiatives. The QuadW Missional Internship program (formerly "3.0") began in Mobile, AL in 2009. In 2013, the QuadW Foundation of Dallas provided the opportunity to expand the program on a national level. Since then, the program has grown to include ten Internship sites coast to coast, as well as a new long-term Residency program in Kansas City.
The QuadW (WWWW) Foundation was established to honor the life of Willie Tichenor. Answering the question of "What Would Willie Want?" the Foundation pursues innovation in sarcoma research, higher education, and transforming mission experiences. Johnny Peters, Director of the University of South Alabama Wesley Foundation, was one of Willie's youth pastors and a close friend. Johnny connected the idea for the internship program with the goals of the QuadW Foundation, giving birth to what became the QuadW Missional Internship program.
National Director, Don Woolley, and the QuadW Outreach Board are deeply grateful for the continued, generous support of the QuadW Foundation. For more information about the QuadW Foundation, see www.quadw.org. For more information about the QuadW Missional Internship program, see www.quadwmi.org.
Shown in photo are QuadW Missional Internship site director and QuadW Foundation board members at the site directors meeting in Dallas, TX last month.
Alabama-West Florida has received requests for ERTs (Early Response Teams) and mission teams from Annual Conferences affected by recent storms. Coastal communities in Texas, Florida, and South Georgia can all use our help, as can communities affected by Hurricane Matthew last year. Remember that when you are looking for an opportunity to volunteer as a mission team, each requesting Annual Conference controls the process and coordinates the United Methodist response.
Want to Serve in Florida?
We have received confirmation that Florida is ready for volunteers to respond to Hurricane Irma. Trained ERTs will be placed in Irma relief and those who are not trained will be serving with recovery for Hermine and Matthew.
For more information regarding needs in Florida, visit their Disaster Response information page at http://www.flumc.org/disaster
Want to Serve in South Georgia?
In the state of Georgia, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma left its worst impact in Coastal Georgia. The South Georgia Conference is looking for badged, current ERT and trained chainsaw teams to help in Chatham and other coastal counties. Lodging can be arranged in local churches; however, teams may need to cook their own meals or use local restaurants.
Interested ERTs can contact Luis O. Morales, South Georgia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to Serve in Texas?
Two Annual Conferences in Texas are calling for ERTs or mission teams.
The Texas Annual Conference is ready to receive volunteer teams to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief. The work consists mainly of cleaning out flooded homes and requires extensive physical labor. At least one member of a team must be ERT trained. Teams should bring their own protective gear and tools. All members need proof of Safe Sanctuary training and clear background check from your local United Methodist Church. Housing is available at a host church in the conference. Team leaders can register their team at http://www.txcumc.org/newsdeta
The Rio Texas Conference is asking for currently certified ERT members for help with debris removal of down trees and roof tarping. Many homes have water damage from damaged windows and roofs. Teams will be based out of Corpus Christi and should register at https://riotexas.org/ert-
Want to Serve in Louisiana?
Teams are currently working two different disasters in Louisiana. The state is in the early response phase (i.e. mucking out) in response to Hurricane Harvey in the southwest part of the state and in the recovery phase (i.e. rebuilding) in response to the 2016 floods in the Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Gonzales and Hammond areas. Register your team at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UMCVolunteerRegistration
Want to Serve in North Carolina?
We encourage anyone interested in volunteering, to join the work in Lumberton, NC, or any of the Hurricane Matthew devastated areas as the need is great and our best energy can be put to work right now! Click here to read more about needs in Lumberton and how to volunteer.
Want to Serve in Puerto Rico?
There is not yet a call for ERTs or other mission teams in Puerto Rico. Even though the situation in is significantly worse, the same process will be involved once Puerto Rico is ready to receive teams.
Feeling Called to Serve as an ERT?
The Alabama-West Florida Conference has several regional ERT training events already scheduled. Visit the conference calendar to learn more.
Want to Stay in the Loop with Disaster Response Communication?
Latest information and trainings, as well as invitations to serve, will be advertised on our conference website, www.awfumc.org, and e-newsletters.
UMVIM SEJ (United Methodist Volunteers in Mission) is also a key player and their weekly e-news is helpful for updates, networking, and a good overview of all the needs and contacts in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Find more at http://umvim.org/go/
But for the past four years, high school students active in the Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church youth group have led the fight for a safer alternative. Serving on a planning committee with other church members, they put together an alcohol-free night of fun, food and fellowship that has become one of the hottest tickets in town.
“Kids are going to go somewhere after the homecoming game,” says the Rev. Shawn York, executive pastor at Gulf Breeze UMC. “All we’ve done is make it cool to be sober.”
In 2016, roughly 330 students attended the Gulf Breeze High School homecoming dance, and at least 285 of those students attended the church-sponsored party.
This year’s homecoming after-party— recently rescheduled to Oct. 21 because of Hurricane Nate—will be held in the outdoor dining area at Flounder’s Chowder House on Pensacola Beach. The theme is “Glo Up!” and guests can expect all manner of glow-in-the-dark festivities.
“At the tiki hut, the bartenders will be serving mocktails,” York said. “And we’ve chartered the dolphin cruise boat … to take them on a cruise under the stars.”
The party, which runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., will also feature a DJ and a photo booth. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office provides off-duty security, and parents chaperone in shifts.
In response to the annual party’s growing popularity, this year Gulf Breeze UMC expanded the planning committee to include seniors from St. Ann’s Catholic Church, which is also located in Gulf Breeze.
“It has proven to us that the majority of our students want something better than the world is giving them,” York said. “They are definitely future leaders, and they’ve really taken ownership of this.”
To fund a party like “Glo Up!” takes money, but York says parents and church members always come through with donations. He estimates this year’s event will cost about $7,000, but maintains it’s well worth it to keep teenagers safe.
“I am hoping other churches will be able to look at what we are doing as a model,” York said.
For more information about the annual event, contact York at email@example.com. Photo courtesy of GBUMC and includes the high school leadership team that helped plan the event.
More than 500 people turned out for “Path to Peace: A Reconciliation Celebration” that united blacks, whites and Latinos from across Baldwin County.
“We used every chair that we owned, and there were still people standing up!” said Rev. Dr. Nolan Donald, pastor at Foley UMC. “I would describe it as holy ground.”
The two-hour service, which blended worship, prayer and sermons from all three communities, was organized as a demonstration of racial unity founded on the cause of Christ. There were white choirs, black choirs and a Latino worship team, and afterward officers from the Foley Police Department grilled hamburgers and all the fixings for the crowd.
“It was one of the most beautiful expressions of Christianity I have ever been a part of,” Donald said. “Several of the speakers said when they got on stage it was just a glimpse of heaven.”
The reconciliation service was the culmination of more than six months of planning by roughly 25 churches across the area. Meeting every two weeks, they prayed and shared ideas about how to combat the racial tensions currently plaguing much of the nation. The team, which included Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Pentecostal and non-denominational churches, relied heavily on Facebook and other social media platforms as well as newspapers and radio publicize the event.
“There was definitely some buzz about it,” Donald said, adding that he’d been uncertain about how many folks would show up. The service—which ended with a rousing rendition of “Amazing Grace”—reinforced the idea that people who disagree about politics or social issues can still stand united in Christ. “Despite the way of the world, this myth that we can’t trust each other, there was hope that the world can look different,” he said. “It was a strong declaration of the Gospel—that the other way is Jesus.”
Organizers now hope to create “affinity group”—groups of people who intentionally gather to enjoy a meal or watch a football game. “I think it’s what we’re called to do,” Donald said. “What brings racial reconciliation is not going to big events. … Deep changes will only come with deep relationships.”
Kari C. Barlow is a journalist based in Pensacola, Fla.
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