Here are some examples of how we reach out to serve our community:
For several years, we have hosted Methodist Mission Weekend, a home repair ministry under the direction of Danny Smith. Volunteers work on numerous homes in the Palestine area doing minor home repairs, such as constructing wheelchair ramps, patching walls and installing cabinets, as well as doing yard work, painting and clean up for elderly, disabled, or disadvantaged homeowners. The Mission Weekends occur three times a year – two in the spring and one in the fall. Workers arrive at the church at 7:30 on Friday and Saturday mornings (workers can attend one or both days as their schedules allow), meet with their assigned work teams, prepare their sack lunches, then go to their sites to begin the day’s work, which typically wraps up mid afternoon.
There are opportunities for just about everyone, even those who are not comfortable doing physical labor on houses. The kitchen crew provides cookies and sets up the lunch table before workers arrive at the church. “Runners” deliver materials to the work sites as unexpected needs arise. Greeters at the work site sit and visit with the clients, most of whom are elderly or disabled and do not get a lot of company. Some people migrate from site to site taking pictures and video. Each work day includes a lunch devotional and discussion led by a devotional leader. The clients are invited to have lunch with the work team.
All participants are required to undergo Safe Sanctuary training and a criminal background check, as this ministry is open to youth who may wish to participate.
The year is capped off with a celebration luncheon where clients, workers, and church members are all invited to the church for a pot luck to reconnect. The highlight of the luncheon is a short video featuring pictures of the year’s work as well as before and after photos from all of the sites.
Trunk or Treat and Vacation Bible School are open to all children of the neighborhood and the community.
This organization, staffed by volunteers, provides financial assistance for people in need, including individuals who need assistance with utility bills. Volunteers are needed to speak with those in need, evaluating the necessity of intervention and disbursing funds where appropriate.
First UMC Palestine is proud to sponsor and support Boy Scout Troop 424. We recognize the Scouting program as a significant tool for reaching youth in the surrounding community. We encourage the boys in the neighborhood to join and bring others into our community. The Church helps to assure that none of these boys are excluded or left out due to financial issues.
Although Sea Scouts is a program for boys and girls, the unit sponsored by First UMC Palestine is unique in Texas in that it is comprised of all girls. This is a very active group that participates in local and distant activities.
First UMC Palestine believes in supporting ongoing ministries of other churches and private organizations. We provide regular and special support to several local community charities.
High school youth from First UMC Palestine go to a UM ARMY camp each summer, providing hands-on work to improve homes for homeowners in need. First UMC Palestine also plays host to a UM ARMY camp group most summers. Students come from all parts of east, central and southeast Texas to do construction projects right here in Palestine. These students stay in the Fellowship Hall and Children’s Building, sleeping on cots and preparing their own food. They spend their days building wheelchair ramps, patching floors and walls, mowing yards, and blessing many people in the Palestine community.
First UMC Palestine junior high youth attend a BIG HOUSE missions camp every summer on a Thursday through Sunday in a community not very far from Palestine. These youth come together with the help of adults to work on churches and homes of those who are in need, and are unable to do the work themselves. The church also returns the favor, hosting a camp of junior high students who come stay at our facilities and spend their days working at churches and non-profit community centers. Armed with paint brushes, ladders and lawn mowers, these kids are a big help to various organizations when they come.