February 7, 2008

Alliance of Local Churches Meeting Community Needs

Meeting for an uncommon evening gathering on January 21st at the St. Paul Lutheran Church, a number of area Pastors, Preachers and representatives of Scotland County ministries held their inaugural event of the new year. Guests and visitors were welcomed as the meeting began.

Due to inclement weather, no meeting was held in December. Two significant events were carried out by the Scotland County Ministerial Alliance since its November meeting.

A Thanksgiving service was held at the SCR-I Elementary School gym on November 20th. Congregational singing, prayers, an offering, special musical selections and a message from Pastor Jim Campbell from the Gorin Christian Church made up the evening’s celebration. Approximately 90 people braved the cold and the rain to attend the service.

The Thanksgiving service appeal for items for the emergency food pantry was a success according to Food Pantry Director, Nancy Kapfer. S.C.M.A. Treasurer, Dee Wiley reported that $696 was provided in the offering to be placed in the Food Pantry account.

Red kettles and ringing bells in December helped raise $919 for the Salvation Army. The participating Churches of the S.C.M.A. came together to coordinate weekly oversight of the Salvation Army fundraiser. Fifteen percent of the monies collected goes to the Salvation Army organization for its purposes. The remaining 85 percent is made available to help with community needs well into the year.

“Your alliance of Scotland County churches provides many more ministries and services to the community than any one church could do alone,” said SCMA secretary Jack Sumption. “The cooperative efforts of the SCMA allow for a variety of not so obvious services. Funds given to the S.C.M.A. make it possible to provide gas, meals and overnight shelter for strangers passing through our town.”

He added that donations from churches and individuals make it possible to assist with needs like medicine, utility payments, emergency travel expenses and so much more.

At the January meeting, provisions were made to offer assistance to a family recently left homeless by a fire.

The Scotland County Ministerial Alliance is the organization under which the Scotland County Food Pantry and the Clothes Closet operate. Each of these ministries has its own director and volunteer base, but the members of the SCMA give time and attention to keeping these ministries funded, functioning and flourishing. It was reported at the January meeting that both of these ministries are expanding. Extra trips are scheduled to the Central Missouri Food Bank that more food may be secured for the monthly food distribution.

“Thanks must be given to the offer of assistance from our Mennonite neighbors,” Sumption said. “The hours at the Clothes Closet will be expanded as the weather warms.”

A new opportunity to meet the needs of the County was introduced at the meeting also Levonne Simerl has been busy in an effort to establish a furniture/furnishings ministry. Space has been secured to begin collecting furniture, appliances and home furnishings. When a need comes up to help “set up house,” the SCMA will have another resource at its disposal.

Those present at the latest meeting of the Alliance were reminded that other ministries are provided to the community that are not under the guidance or direction of the SCMA.

Concerned members of the community established the “Scotland County Youth Association” several years ago.

Their efforts have brought “The Place” into existence. Open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Games, snacks, a wholesome environment and adult supervision greet the young people every time the doors are open.

Another ministry is being birthed in 2008. Several years ago, some discussion was held among SCMA members to provide a Pregnancy Care Ministry for the Memphis community and surrounding area. The opportunity did not become a reality through the SCMA. The vision for such a ministry was caught by others. A report was brought to the meeting that the Memphis Area Pregnancy Care Center is a functioning ministry.

The Scotland County Ministerial Alliance generally meets at the St. Paul Lutheran Church on the second Wednesday of every Month (September through June). Another evening meeting has been scheduled for April 21, 2008.

It is hoped that the evening meeting will encourage more representation from the churches across Scotland County. Churches, organizations and/or individuals who would like to make donations to the Scotland County Ministerial Alliance may do so. Checks should be made out to the SCMA and sent to SCMA Treasurer, P.O. Box 264, Memphis, MO, 63555.

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