A Maryville District church is in the midst of a four-week series to help its community become more aware of hunger and to support related ministries.
Broadway United Methodist Church began its “Sharing God’s Abundance” series on April 22, which continues through Sunday, May 13 with a "90/90 commitment." Throughout the summer, participants will be asked to take action for 90 minutes over 90 days to help relieve or eliminate hunger.
The public is invited to a variety of activities, including a May 12 “poverty simulation” at the church.
“My heart has been caught in the past year with the plight of the hungry,” the Rev. Amy Probst said in a recent column in The (Maryville) Daily Times. “ I have been convicted that I pay lip service to the issue of hunger, but when I honestly confess before God, I have to acknowledge that I am not often part of the solution to the problem of hunger.”
Like many good church people, Probst said, she takes cans to her church’s food pantry and donates money when made aware of particular needs. “However, when I am honest before my God and my congregation, I hear the words of Jesus echo, For I was hungry and you did not feed me. Further into that scripture in Matthew 25:31f, Jesus says, That which you have not done unto the least of these, my little ones (or my brothers), you have not done unto me."
The series kicked off Sunday, April 22, with Probst’s sermon, “What’s the Problem?” and a week of opportunities designed to reveal the “Faces of Hunger." (Listen to sermon.)
The first-week activities included free "Welcome Table" community dinners at First Maryville United Methodist Church and New Providence Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Bob Hayes is also leading a weekly Tuesday night Bible study throughout the series.
On April 25, Broadway partnered with the Peace and World Concerns student committee of Maryville College for an Oxfam International Hunger Banquet at a local bookstore.
Other opportunities include an April 28 World Vision 30-Hour Famine for the youth; an April 29 One Harvest Food Ministries outreach; and a May 3 “panel night” with speakers from the Society of St. Andrew, Maryville Farmers' Market, and the Blount County Community Action Agency’s Senior Nutrition Program.
On Saturday, May 12, during the "Why Should I Care?" week, Holston members are invited to a Poverty Simulation. The day begins at 11 a.m. when participants will gather to fill food buckets for Liberia for Holston’s Hands-on Mission Project. Lunch will be provided, followed by a presentation from Blount County Salvation Army.
The Poverty Simulation activity will then begin and continue through 4:30.
"The simulation will put you in a role-play where you are asked to live as a family with a cash-only lifestyle," said Bill Henry, chair of Broadway's mission team. "It was an eye-opening experience for those of us who went to the Poverty Conference last fall."
Henry requests R.S.V.P. (email@example.com) and $7 from each participant to cover the cost of lunch and food buckets.
For more information, including daily devotions and a calendar, visit the Broadway web site or Facebook page.