In June of 1969, ten small membership rural United Methodist churches on Sand Mountain covenanted together to better serve their communities and the world beyond. Now, fifty years later, it’s time to celebrate and to affirm all that has been accomplished through the generosity and commitment of people, organizations and congregations across the USA, thanks be to God.
Four quarterly celebrations are planned to take place during the coming year at churches across the Parish. The first was Sunday, June 23 at Section United Methodist Church. An hour of “Memory Moments” and fellowship began at 4 p.m. with a “Spud Party” at 5 p.m. with baked potatoes with trimmings and desserts.
Worship followed at 6 p.m. with focus on a trip down memory lane and North Alabama Conference Bishop Dr. Deborah Wallace-Padgett brought the message.
Across the years, with other partner churches, one of the ministries to be celebrated is the construction of 48 “Heart and Hand” houses that give low-income families the opportunity to anticipate home ownership in their lifetime.
An area family will be recognized and celebrated for having achieved this goal recently. To date, 31 families with over 100 children have achieved the goal of becoming homeowners.
Voluntarism and partnerships mark the history and ongoing ministries of the Parish. Presently, through the partnership with the North Alabama Food Bank and other generous donors, the Upper Sand Mountain Parish continues to make thousands of pounds of fresh food available to our under-resourced neighbors across our 1,000-square-mile ministry area. Mission service teams continue to come from across the country to volunteer in support of mission projects. The Parish also provides employment for more than 20 individuals that operate there “Better Way” thrift shops in Rainsville, Henagar and Sylvania, which have just been recognized as the Times-Journal's “Best of DeKalb” for 2019.
From the beginning, the Parish has been committed to strengthening local congregations while resourcing them for ministry. With current leadership of Executive Director Pastor James “Woody” Woodin, nine congregations provide pastoral and lay leadership for planning and implementing ministries. Community and church lay volunteers are critical to the vitality and fruitfulness of each ministry. This commitment from youth and adults “make possible the impossible.”
Come celebrate 50 years of “God at Work” with people, congregations, institutions, and organizations on and around the mountain.
Other celebrations are planned including Sunday, Sep. 15 at Robertson Chapel United Methodist Church in Rainsville; Dec. 1 at Dutton United Methodist Church; and March 15, 2020 “Praising God into the Next 50” with Mountain Lakes District Superintendent Reverend Terry Bentley, preaching. For more information, contact the Parish Ministry Center at 256-638-2126.