“DURING THE SEASON OF LENT…”
… Join Your Pastors for a “Wesley Fast” &
Pray for the Welfare of Our City.
Pray for the Welfare of Our City
This week we pray for the CCM staff—Beth Hibbitts, Executive Director; Peggy Sparks, Office Administrator; Stacy Tollie, Pantry Coordinator; and Don Martin, Custodial Maintenance—for their patience, safety, and open hearts. Pray also that as CCM assists people in crisis, we partner to find ways to move the needle on poverty. Our goal is not only to help people in poverty, but to help them out of it.
I learned recently from the Chamber of Commerce that the average household income in Thomasville is twenty percent below the state average. This is not a surprise to most of us. While economic conditions have improved since furniture manufacturing began to move out more than a decade ago, the day-to-day struggle of many in our city remains.
A Methodist pastor works with the understanding that, while he is appointed to a particular church, his congregation includes the neighborhood. So, from time to time I walk through the streets behind Memorial and become acquainted with folks. The financial struggle is apparent, but so is the poverty of spirit. It’s not just the houses that are dilapidated. There is an inner resignation among our neighbors, an assumption that the future does not hold out possibilities for improvement.
Fortunately, this is not the full story. Helping agencies abound in Thomasville, and among them are the Salvation Army, the Father’s Storehouse, Fairgrove Family Resource Center, Communities in Schools, Davidson Medical Ministries, and Cooperative Community Ministry (CCM). Added to this list is that, on any given day, a church is offering a meal at no cost for the hungry.
Of the city’s helping agencies, Memorial United Methodist is most closely associated with Cooperative Community Ministry. CCM was founded in 1992 by pastors and lay people who saw a need for local churches and agencies to work together, rather than separately, in providing crisis assistance to people in need. Memorial has become its largest church contributor of food and financial resources.
Last year CCM gave out roughly 240,000 cans of food and $43,000 in financial aid. CCM is the only non-government agency in Thomasville that provides funding for families in need of emergency assistance with rent or a utility bill. With their resources limited, the staff carry the burden of prioritizing the greatest needs. This is tough to do when every plea has a human face.
If you have ever visited CCM during operating hours, you would have found a ministry that treats each individual with warmth and respect. Having watched the staff and volunteers interact with clients, I am mindful of words from the Apostle Paul: “and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect” (I Cor. 12:23). We are a more faithful congregation because CCM works alongside us in ministering to our city.