Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. No amount of emergency preparation could have readied the Lone Star State for the sheer volume of rain and flooding that has drenched the Texas coast. Many have reported that the damage caused by this storm has gone far beyond any sort of "worse-case scenario" that they had imagined. While we in the Mid-South are now experiencing the remnants of this storm, many are asking how we can help. We'd like to offer several ways that Memphians and Mid-South residents can support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
We are still several weeks away before churches, schools, and other organizations can host disaster recovery teams. The best immediate response we recommend is to donate directly to organizations that are already on the ground providing relief. We suggest making a donation to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) which has a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator. You can also give to our sister churches in the Rio Texas Conference (www.riotexas.org). 100% of the money donated to disaster recovery through these organizations goes directly to the people who need it the most; it never pays for staff or administration since those positions are supported by church offerings and apportionments.
Another way we can make an impact from afar is to assemble Cleaning Buckets. United Methodist Churches from across Tennessee and Western Kentucky are filling up an 18-wheeler with hundreds of cleaning buckets to assist Texans in the recovery efforts. There are several locations that are collecting buckets and other items in the upcoming week. Please drop off completed buckets or items from this list at Mellow Mushroom Germantown on Monday, September 4th from 7:00-9:00. You can also drop off items at the Collierville UMC Ministry Center weekdays during business hours. If you live in Bartlett, Lakeland, or Cordova, you can drop off your cleaning buckets at St. Paul UMC (call them at 901-387-0007 for drop off times). The truck is leaving from Nashville on Monday, September 11th and will be stopping in Lakeland to load up donations from the Memphis Metro area.
Scroll down to see two videos: one showing you how to assemble a cleaning bucket, and the other is how you can assemble a health kit (we recorded this video approximately one year ago when Louisiana was experiencing catastrophic flooding). We'll receive more info about team training and recovery teams that will journey down to Texas. Email us today if you'd like to be notified of updates and news regarding these recovery teams.
Let's all continue to pray for Texas and all those affected by Harvey. Pray for the safety of the military, police, firefighters, EMTs, and everyday people who are giving their time, energy, and resources to rescue people who've been left stranded and helpless. And pray for families and individuals who have lost everything in the floods. Even during these dark times, we know that God is with our brothers & sisters, and we trust that God will offer healing and redemption to those in need.
+Peace and Love from Pastor Kris
Last weekend, the Guatemalan Mobile Consulate returned to the Memphis area to assist Guatemalan citizens who are living and working in the United States. Consulate officials helped individuals process updates to their documentation including passport renewals, birth certificate applications for children who have dual-citizenship, marriage licenses, certificates of death for loved ones who had passed away, and government-issued identification cards.
Trinity United Methodist Church (Midtown) served as the host site for this event, with Iglesia Metodista Unida "El Redentor" acting as the liaison with the Consular General in Atlanta and Peace Tree UMC coordinating volunteers for the two-day event. Volunteers came from the three churches mentioned above as well as from the following groups & organizations: Collierville UMC, Emmanuel UMC (Memphis), St. Paul UMC (Lakeland), Trinity Baptist Church (Cordova), Teach for America, Latino Memphis, University of Memphis Spanish Department, Sigma Chi Fraternity (EK Chapter), and the Congregational Health Network from Methodist Healthcare. By the end of the weekend we had helped serve 929 neighbors, and Christians of all ages from varying socio-economic levels and different cultural backgrounds had come together to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
The Guatemalan Consulate hopes to return to Memphis for another visit in 2017. So if you'd like to work alongside all these amazing people, then please Contact us today. Reverend Luz Campos is the pastor of El Redentor, and below you can read her letter to the volunteers. With her permission and with light editing, we share it with you now:
It was 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 24th when we realized that there were already some cars in the parking lot with people waiting for the line to start. When we returned at 2:00 a.m. the line was very long; men and women with children in their arms prepared to spend the night waiting in line in order to receive assistance from the Guatemalan Mobile Consulate.
Unfortunately, during the early hours of Saturday the 24th, a storm with strong winds and heavy rain approached Midtown. But no one moved from their place in line. Thanks to the compassion of Rev. Jonathan Bratt Carle and for Rev. Goyo de la Cruz who coordinated the details of opening the Education Center at Trinity UMC, at 4 o'clock in the morning we were able to allow people to enter. Everyone was obviously soaked but thankful for the shelter.
The church housed between 400 to 500 adults plus children that Saturday morning. And at 8:00 a.m. the officials from the consulate arrived to assist the Guatemalan community. Everyone was very grateful because the volunteers from Trinity UMC had shared water, fruit, and cookies. There was even a group of volunteers who took care of the children. We are also very grateful to our neighbors from the Vollintine Evergreen Community Association for their support in allowing us to park along the streets of their neighborhood throughout the weekend.
There is a Latino saying that says “Union Makes Force" (La Unión hace la Fuerza). It is true! The union of three churches (Trinity UMC, Peace Tree, and Iglesia Metodista Unida “El Redentor”) and many volunteers made it possible for us to be the hands and feet of God in this journey.
Thank you brothers and sisters! And to all the volunteers, thank you for working so hard to serve our neighbors. They were very satisfied, not only because they were able to carry out their official consulate business, but also because they met people who truly love God. They encountered people who exemplify the love of God burning in their hearts by serving others. So once again, "Thank You."
Rev. Luz Campos
Iglesia Metodista Unida "El Redentor"
Every year, the Guatemalan Consulate in Atlanta sends a mobile unit to Memphis to assist Guatemalans living and working in the United States with updates to their documents as well as applications for birth certificates, wedding licenses, and other important papers. 1,665 people from across Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri were assisted this year, but more than 500 people were not seen due to time constraints. Peace Tree’s Susan Lawhon and Jennie Dickerson organized and led the many volunteers needed to make this event possible. In our latest blog post, Jennie shares what this event means to her and why she signs up every year to volunteer.
One of the things I love about Peace Tree is that we are a “doing” church. We meet people where they are, whether it's the Blessing of the Animals at Suggs Park, a neighborhood event on the Collierville Town Square, or the annual Guatemalan Consulate Visit to Memphis.
Last weekend, Peace Tree joined our United Methodist family at Asbury UMC and Iglesia Metodista Unida El Redentor to assist the local Guatemalan population file some tedious government paperwork. More than 1,600 people stood in line for hours to get updated government identification cards, birth certificates, passports and more. Volunteers (Spanish-speaking or not) helped make the process as smooth as possible by directing traffic, making copies of documents, answering questions, and keeping children entertained while parents spoke to consulate officials.
The Guatemalan Consulate Visit is my favorite volunteer event of the year. To me, it epitomizes how we ought to live as Christians. We don't have to speak the same language or be from the same place to walk alongside each other and make this life a little easier. It’s faith in action and an opportunity to show grace and love to each other. This is what it means to “love thy neighbor,” and every year I'm grateful for this opportunity to do so.
Summer is quickly approaching! With so many great camps, parks, and attractions in Collierville, you don't have to travel far to enjoy a fun family event. Check out Peace Tree's list of 30 things to do in Collierville this summer.
1. Walk the many trails found throughout Collierville's parks and explore the Peterson Lake Nature Center Arboretum (colliervilleparks.org/trails-arboretum).
2. Catch a free outdoor movie during Movie Mania at Carriage Crossing. Click HERE for the full schedule of family-friendly movies playing every other Friday night.
3. Discover what everyone's talking about and enjoy a sweet treat at the new Miccos Snocones on Houston Levee (www.miccossnocones.com).
4. Sign up your child for a fun week at VBS. Go back in time and visit Egypt at Collierville United Methodist Church, June 13-17 (www.colliervilleumc.org/vbs).
5. Enjoy a Friday night on the Collierville Town Square and listen to the music during the Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Jam starting around 6:30 p.m. (www.memphis-bluegrass.org).
6. Get involved with one of the many summer reading programs at the Collierville Burch Library (colliervillelibrary.org).
7. Sign up your young performer for one of this summer's Drama Kids summer camps. Click HERE to learn more about the different productions and camps being offered.
8. Learn to paint with Glenda Brown at the Morton Museum. This 4-week class teaches students the fundamentals of basic drawing skills, color principles, composition, materials & tools. (colliervillemuseum.org).
9. Stay up late for Glo Bowling at FunQuest every Friday and Saturday night starting at 9:30 p.m. (funquestbowl.com).
10. Grab a bite to eat for only $5 at the Wigfall Grey's Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, June 4th. Click HERE for more info including where to purchase tickets in advance.
11. Catch the premiere of Disney-Pixar's Finding Dory at the Malco Collierville Towne Cinema & Grill on Friday, June 17 (www.malco.com).
12. Sign up your child for the 'Summer of a Lifetime' during Chick-fil-A's WinShape Camp, June 27th through July 1st (www.winshapecamps.org).
13. Grab your fishing pole and head out to Herb Parsons Lake. The lake is open one half hour before sunrise and closes one half hour after sunset. Click HERE for more info.
14. Enjoy a delicious milkshake from Mensi's Dairy Bar near the Collierville Town Square. Check out their menu HERE.
15. Help someone in need by donating canned goods at the Collierville Food Pantry (collierville.com/residents/organizations). Call ahead for drop-off information: 901-853-3235.
16. Fly a kite and play some disc golf at the new Hinton Park off of E. Holmes Rd. Click HERE for directions and information.
17. Bring the whole family to the 2nd Annual Suggs Park Field Day. Stay cool with free ice-pop and play awhile on the splash pad. Click HERE for more info.
18. Sign up your child for an enriching and inspiring week of Art Camp with Creative Minds Art Studios.
19. Help animals in need by volunteering with the Collierville Animal Shelter. Click HERE to contact them today.
20. Enjoy a fun evening of music on the Collierville Town Square during the 25th Annual Sunset on the Square, every Thursday in June and July starting at 7:00 p.m. (www.mainstreetcollierville.org).
21. Register and start training for this September's Tour de Collierville. Click HERE to see last year's route.
22. Catch the premiere of Universal Studios' The Secret Life of Pets at the Malco Collierville Towne Cinema & Grill on Friday, July 8 (www.malco.com).
23. Grab a burger and a milkshake at Dyer's Café on the Collierville Town Square (dyerscollierville.com).
24. Watch the fireworks show with your neighbors on July 4th during the Independence Day Celebration at H. W. Cox Jr. Park. Click HERE for more details.
25. Sign up your child for a fun week of summer camp at the YMCA at Schilling Farms including a number of specialty camps (www.ymcamemphis.org).
26. Support local farmers and eat fresh after visiting the Collierville Farmers Market which takes place every Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the parking lot at Collierville United Methodist Church (www.colliervillefarmersmarket.org).
27. Cool down with an iced coffee from Square Beans on the Collierville Town Square (www.squarebeans.com).
28. Take your bicycle for a ride on miles and miles of trails that make up the Collierville Greenbelt System. Click HERE for more information.
29. Sign up your child for a fun, hands-on experience at Archaeology Camp being offered by the Museum of Biblical History (www.biblical-museum.org).
30. Help the Collierville Victory Garden with an upcoming Harvest Donation. Learn how you can volunteer today (www.colliervillevictorygarden.org).
Is anything missing from our list? Anything that you plan to do this summer that you'd recommend to others? Let us know in the comments section below.
The following press release was written by Compassion International, an organization which exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults. Peace Tree is providing volunteers and working alongside Collierville UMC to help host Compassion International's upcoming event.
More than 1.4 billion people in developing countries live on less than $1.25 per day, facing challenges most Americans never will. Compassion International’s The Compassion Experience is making a four-day stop in the Collierville area February 19-22 and will bring visitors on a journey into the lives of two Compassion-sponsored children living in the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. The event will be hosted by Collierville United Methodist Church at 454 West Poplar Avenue in Collierville
A self-guided tour will immerse visitors in the lives of the children. Through the use of an iPod, a headset and 1,700 square feet of interactive space, visitors will see the children’s homes, walk through schools and markets, and hear life-changing stories of hope—all from the perspective of a child whose life began in poverty. This free event is appropriate for all ages and is an excellent opportunity for anyone who has never had the chance to travel outside the U.S. to get a small glimpse of what life can be like in developing countries.
Visitors are encouraged to make a reservation, however walk-ins are welcome. Groups of 20 or more should email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve their space. For more information about “The Compassion Experience”, visit www.compassionexperience.com, @compassion_exp on Twitter, and www.facebook.com/compassionexperience on Facebook.
Collierville and Memphis-area residents — all ages welcome
An interactive tour through the life of a child living in a developing country
WHEN / WHERE:
February 19-22, 2016
Collierville United Methodist Church
454 West Poplar Avenue
Collierville, TN 38017
Follow the journey of a new church as we answer the call to reach people in Collierville, Memphis, and the Mid-South.