Tag: South Carolina

Meeting the Need – Health Kits and Love Offerings

Health Kits UMC IMG_6947

After the rains came, and everything started to settle, it became pretty clear that things were going to be alright in much of Ridgeville, Givhans and the Lebanon Communities, but there are many places still dealing with water slowly leaving the state.  Churches and homes still getting rid of water, assessing damage, and beginning the slow process of putting life back together.

Yesterday I drove through Columbia, and it is clear with the bridges still out, and the road closures (and the water systems just coming back into full operation) that this has and will be a longer road than usual.  I’d like to say a few thanks to some of the amazing people I’ve seen helping.

(1) I’d like to thank the South Carolina UMC Conference, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, and the Emergency Relief Teams already engaged and working across the state.  We’re blessed to have so many people from so many places putting brotherly/sisterly love into action.  (By the way there is a training tomorrow if you’d like to join those teams).  Also, thanks to the Conference and our Bishop for immediately posting information on how to get things done.

(2) I’d like to thank the churches of the Ridgeville Charge.  We’ve already made up 60 Health Kits, which were brought to the Conference Office yesterday.  (See pictures above).  I talked with the ladies there, and they said that they are shipping them out to communities fast, and these health kits are in great need.  We should continue to send them if we can, and I’ll make sure that somehow they keep getting to the Conference Office as fast as possible (drop off in the Vestibule’s of any of our Ridgeville Charge Churches.  Also – thank you for already giving so much to the Canaan UMC church on Route 61.  There are ERT teams working there, and they are worshipping at their sister church Sand Hill UMC until the church is ready to use again.  Continue to be in prayers for them, and maybe check in with anyone you know in that area and see if anyone needs anything specific.  We’ll be giving their emergency fund a love offering after this Sunday.  Make sure to invite folks back out to church for worship, and to maximize how much we can send in aid.  I’ve seen SC people coming together in the name of God, and my hope and prayer is that this will continue.  God is good!

(3) To those areas outside the affected zone, and those places out of state who have come to help and have sent bottled water.  Thank you for your prayers and generosity.  God is doing amazing things here, and I believe by prayer you are doing the best thing possible.  God is giving us all we need, and the people of SC are strong.  Pray for those without homes, send funds if you can to relief organizations (see my previous blog for more information about giving and making health kits), and keep telling us you’re thinking about us as the work continues in our hardest hit areas.

My favorite scripture verse is: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for theLord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

We have seen His mighty power, we have seen Him work through the love of so many, and our faith is putting our hands to work for our neighbors!  Blessed be the name of the Lord our God!

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South Carolina Flood Response

 

canann umc flood

Flood Response

 

From Pastor Dan:  I’ve visited our three churches, and for the most part, our churches fared pretty well through the incredible storms this past weekend.  I’ve met with some of our folks and I haven’t received any requests for dire need so far.   However, we encourage you to check in on your neighbors and simply ask how they are doing after the storm.  Perhaps we can provide for some in a time of need.  There are others in our immediate area who are not as fortunate, and are in need of help.  I’ve talked with our Emergency Relief Coordinator, Toni Janis, about Canaan UMC on Rt. 61, and they are in dire need in many ways – not just the church but also members whose homes are under water.  
How can we help?  Here are four ways:
(1) Pray! first and foremost, for those who are in need across our entire state and those currently responding to all forms of need.
(2) You can donate funds to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief), and we may take up a “Love Offering” Sunday in order to send some financial help directly to our neighbors on 61.    General donations to help in the aftermath of the South Carolina flooding should go to Advance #901670, U.S. Disaster, said Gregory A. Forrester, assistant general secretary, UMCOR  Disaster Response. You can go directly to the UMCOR website to give on-line: http://www.UMCOR.org 
(3) Volunteer: If you would like to volunteer to assist in the relief efforts following the historic flooding all around South Carolina, you must be training.
Please join ERT and help people recover from the flooding disaster in SC.
Training is Saturday Oct. 10 from 9am-5pm
Sharon UMC
3001 Shannon St. Sharon, SC
$35 (Lunch Provided)
(4) Health Kits: The NEW items needed for each kit include:
• 1 hand towel
• 15 x 25 inches to 17 x 27 inches;
• Kitchen, cleaning, and microfiber towels not acceptable.
• 1 washcloth
• 1 comb
• Comb needs to be sturdy and longer than 6 inches long;
• No pocket combs or picks please;
• Rattail combs and combs without handles are acceptable with a minimum of 6 inches of teeth.
• 1 metal nail file or nail clippers
• No emery boards, please.
• 1 bath-size soap
• 3 oz. and larger sizes only;
• No Ivory or Jergens soap due to moisture content;
• Do not remove from original packaging.
• 1 toothbrush
• Adult size only;
• Do not remove from original packaging.
• 6 adhesive bandages
• ¾ inch to 1 inch-size;
• Common household Band-Aids.
• 1 plastic bag
• One-gallon size sealable bag only.
• $1.00 to purchase toothpaste (UMCOR purchases toothpaste in bulk and monitors expiration dates)
Assembly Directions: Set the $1.00 for toothpaste aside to be included in a separate envelope. Lay out the hand towel flat on a table. Lay the washcloth flat in the center of the hand towel. Place all remaining items on top of the washcloth. Fold over the sides of the hand towel to cover all of the items. Fold over one end of the hand towel so that it covers all of the items. Grasp the bundle of items tightly and roll over the remainder of the hand towel tightly. Place the tightly rolled bundle in the plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag.  See website for more information: https://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies/Relief-Supply-Kits/Health   (You can drop off Health Kits at all three of our churches in the Welcome Area (vestibule), and we will make sure they get to UMCOR for distribution).
As we seek to respond in a way that honors our Connection to others as followers of Jesus Christ, let us petition our Heavenly Father for all the needs of those who are affected.  He is with us, and cares deeply for us all, and He calls us to be hands and feet, and to be those who bring the Good News by our actions and by sharing His great eternal Love.
“We are a connectional church, and we are not alone as we seek to respond faithfully to communities in crisis,” said SC UMC Conference Bishop Jonathan Holston.

Daniel Griswold
Pastor, Ridgeville Charge, UMC
Trinity, Mt. Tabor, Cypress

OFFICE: 843-871-1287

To Symbolize the Goodness of Our 9 Years of Marriage, I Ate This Maple Bacon Donut for Breakfast (Photo)

Amanda and I are marking 9 years married today.  We woke up and wished each other a Happy Anniversary and planned a nice lunch together (it is a work day after all).  Also, in a splurge of celebration we went to our favorite Coffee Shop in Bluffton, SC: The Corner Perk for Raspberry White Mochas, and stopped in at The Surgary bakery next door for a breakfast treat.  As a symbol of the deep goodness of our 9 years of marriage, I picked ‘the Homer’ donut.  It is a rich Maple Donut covered with bits of Bacon.  Oh yeas – lots of bacon my friends.  Marriage – Great.  Life – Great.  Bacon on Maple on donut….tasty.  Love you Amanda, and thanks for the Donut ;D !

How Does the UMC General Conference affect the South Carolina Churches – Pastor Ken Nelson

A while back I had the opportunity to meet Rev. Ken Nelson, and I remember coming away having experienced a guy who really cares about people and the church.  Like many, he is down in Tampa, FL for the General Conference, which happens once every four years.  Here are his thoughts about what GC means for South Carolina and the rest of the church:

So basically, his concern is, what will the church look like in the future, who will be allowed to lead, and how will we meet our challenges as a church.

If you are at General Conference, share your thoughts so far in the comments below.  If you are not, I suggest you check out the General Conference page at http://www.umc.com for some great resources and connections.

(Image Source)

Our Sacred Space AKA Youth Gathering Room (oh the difference a year makes)

A little over a year ago, the Children’s Ministry at Saint Andrew allowed us (Surf Youth Group), to take over a large room in our administration building in order have more space for Youth Activities.  Here is what it looked like as we first utilized the room:

We inherited two couches, some green padded chairs, two directors chairs, and a large tube television.  I eventually brought in a ping-pong table (not shown), the stage behind me, bought a projector, and moved in a healthy stack of NLV Bibles.  Good to go for the time.

We quickly outgrew the half space we had, and I had to rearrange several times to accomodate.  The paint was aged (with years of handprints plastered about), so over the summer Amanda (my wife) and I did a major overhaul.  We painted the walls blue and a deep red.  Moved over to the other side of the room and enlarged the gathering space.  A donated couch arrived, we hooked up an HD TV for media, and brought in a Gladiator Gearbox, some lights and a laptop to do some really fun stuff.  Here is the current room:

I forgot to mention that I love the icicle lights – in person they make the room very warm.  This picture was taken after High School Youth Group on Sunday Night, and I love how the room feels.  Unfortunately, more work needs to be done.  We are already over capacity for seating space for some of our programs with Middle School youth, and so this summer we will likely work on some new projects – like taking out the back walls, painting the hallways, and making a unified youth space (we also have a teaching room and a Green Room that feels more like a coffee shop).

In all the youth ministries in which I have served families, having a fun and warm space is incredibly important for those who worship and spend time in the church.  A lot has happened as we have continued to redo the rooms including a new and growing High School Youth Group known as ACDC (Awesome Christian’s Digging Christ).  Summer missions is exploding, Confirmation is passionate, events are transforming lives, and God is doing some great and amazing things.   Nice to know the space is getting used ;D  God bless you and pray for us if you have a few moments.  Peace.

UMC Youth Rock at Revolution Retreat in Columbia, SC

Friday though Saturday March 16 – 18th, thousands of young people from across South Carolina came together at the Colonial Coliseum.  To describe it in a few words: “It was BIG.”  We worshipped with the Spark band, danced to hip hop with Humble T.I.P. (To Increase Praise), rocked with DecembeRadio, and were challenged to the core by Jennifer Dake concerning our discipleship and understanding our relationship with Jesus Christ.

We were created perfect, we became imperfect, we need to be perfect, Christ was perfect, Christ died to make us perfect, and we can have faith in an amazing God of grace.  The challenge to discipleship, to put away sin and walk forward with Christ was amazing.

Here is a bit of the worship from The Spark:

We also had an opportunity in mission to pack bags full of protein, vegetables and rice to send to East Timor, where some of the most impoverished conditions on the planet exist.  We put on hair nets and weighed 8,000 packets that were ready to ship out in the weeks from the Stop Hunger Now warehouse in North Carolina.  And we also learned the game Ninja while we chilled ;D

It was truly an amazing event packed with the funniest (and most fun) Intermission Dance (see below).  We had fun in Columbia getting to know each other at the hotel, while walking and driving around Columbia, and while seeing youth from last year’s Salkehatchie trip, and went deeper in devotions each evening.  God did some amazing works in us, and we can pray that our hearts remain passionate and on fire.  God is good.   

Here is what one of the youth wrote on Facebook: 

“Wow. Revolution was so amazing, The Spark was there, Demberadio, Humble T.I.P. and mrs. Jennifer. It was so amazing to see a HUGE group of teenagers get together and just praise God. Not even thinking about what the person beside them thought of them. There were tears of pure salvation and SO MANY hearts were opened to God and to letting him consume our bodies. Im never.ever. Going to forget this weekend. Even though I was sick and had NO voice, it’d come and go, it was a blast.”

Thank you Amanda and Tina for being amazing leaders, and thank you to our youth who went and soaked in God’s goodness all weekend long.  You made the retreat fun for everyone.

Quick Thought: Why I Am Against Gambling

(Please read this whole article and interact with my whole argument)

I recently heard that a casino has been proposed for a community that is literally down the street from where I live.  There are pictures, proposals, and a bit of media blitz revving up.  I immediately tweeted @NikkiHaley and asked her not to promote the new casino.  Today, I am happy to have read, that Haley has state on Facebook that she will not support the casino or approve expanded gambling in South Carolina, and she continued to emphasize that her administration will promote manufacturing and industry jobs to the state.  I clicked “like” immediately.

The comments section immediately lit up, and the most common arguments for gambling in South Carolina are, “Its more jobs,” “It will bring more money into the tourist economy,” and “You can do it online and in Vegas, why not here? North Carolina will get all the money,” etc, etc.  The same arguments are made in New Hampshire and Massachusetts about the Connecticut casinos that draw people in so I’m familiar with them, but I am still anti-casino, but also anti-gambling.

Why?

I don’t believe that gambling, in the big picture, benefits anyone.

It is a form of entertainment based on the adrenaline rush of possibly losing your money.  In fact most people do lose money, and that is what goes to pay profit to those who run the operations, as well as pay out the rewards to a select “few” who beat the odds.  Very rarely do the numbers work out that people gain more than is taken.  I’m not a math man, but I assume that these places wouldn’t exist if the odds weren’t heavily in their favor.  So basically, more people lose than win.  Applying basic Pavlovian psychology to this situation, and you have an atmosphere for highly addictive behavior.  In studies, when a reward is applied sometimes, but not always, it is more addictive than if the reward is always applied.  At the slot machines, you win some and you lose some, so people widdle away the hours thinking “one more, and I’m done…one more and I’m done.”  Its a system designed to draw you and and get more and more serious until you lose big.  While addictions are a part of life (caffeine being one), this one is literally giving away money.  The impracticality of it, in my opinion, makes it wrong for the individual.  To go in knowing that you will likely lose, allotting a certain amount to give away, but hoping that you will win big.

My thoughts:

(1) Our hope should not be placed in money.  Gambling places the dollar on too high a pedestal.  Getting more dollars won’t solve your problems, it won’t solve societies problems.  “More money, more problems” in other words.

(2) Our entertainment should not have the possibility of loss of income that could be used for better use.  We should be wise with our money.  Giving it away to the glowing lights is not wise and by the odds is not going to produce good fruit.

(3) Some entertainments grow us as people and make us more capable as human beings.  Gambling does not improve you physically, spiritually or mentally.  It is a behavioral adrenaline rush in which you play with risk and hope not to be wiped out.  It is a waste of our potential, our talents, and what we could be giving to our world.

(4) These buildings close people off from society and many leave thinking of only of their next return – where they will only lose more time and more potentially more money.

(5) Lastly, to address the biggest justification for a casino, to give money to something good.  This is to create a money tube.  People bring money, they game, they lose money willingly, that money is given to a cause (ex. education).   This looks great at first.  People don’t like taxes, but they’ll “game” in a casino.  Need money for education, get a casino, cash flows to state who pays for education – problem solved.  Not so!  A good society needs to value education.  Indirect funding of education through gaming brings people to value the gaming rather than the end result – a well rounded educated society.  You fund something good (educated young people for a brighter tomorrow) with something that teaches unwise investment of resources (gambling), the opposite of what you would teach in a classroom.  Unless you want to teach that Gambling is good because it funds education – which is false.  Education is good because it gives people the tools they need to be productive members of society.  Gambling can only be argued as being good on its own two feet.  What good, on its own, does gambling provide?  Adrenaline? Risk? Fun? But weigh that against its own down sides.  Loss.  Addiction.  Broken Relationships.  Distraction.  How does it stand on that alone?  My argument is this: Education should be funded.  Gambling is one way to do it, but it is not the best way.  If we really value Education, we would make a good case to the public of what we need to educate the next generation on Education’s merits alone.  Not, in what the individual can get out of it.  This thinking makes our society more selfish than it needs to be, and it is distasteful to me.

Some people say that it is your own money, and another person has no right to say what the other will do with it.  That would be a good argument if we all didn’t live together in communities where we all interact and we rise and fall on the strength of the whole.   As a person who lives in a community with many others, I do expect that everyone is being wise with their time, their money, and their talents. I expect that they use their money to produce actual products, ideas, and dreams.  I would hope that their entertainments would make them better people (by interacting and growing through reading books, informing television, physical competition and world growth challenges, expanding the mind and doing service that helps others and that grows the heart and mind).

I don’t know the statistics about how much of an economic impact this would have, nor do I know how much of it would go to education, or other tacked on provisions to make it “worthwhile”.  I do know that there are better ways for all of us to use our money.  I do know that people should be giving to education anyway – and we should be ashamed to say we would only give that money if we are “entertained” for it.  I know that the world sometimes works in the wrong ways to try and achieve the right outcomes, but I prefer to try to attain both.  The right means to the right goals.

So I’m thankful that a casino is not supported, and I hope that it will be seen as a positive safe guard of our treasure, our time, and our good work.  Let’s focus on better things.