Lea Joyner Memorial United Methodist Church in Monroe is fulfilling a Conference "Core Value" and "engaging with the surrounding community" through "Change to Make a Change."
Each month, the church invites a guest speaker from a local community service project to present during worship services. Representatives from such vital community programs as the local food bank, a school "backpacks program," an area soup kitchen, the Battered Women’s Shelter and others have spoken during services, sharing information about the services their mission provides. During worship, an offering is received with 100% of the proceeds going to that specific mission.
"Since July, we have collected over $7,000 for local community projects and missions. We simply ask church members to save their change (coins or "silent" change--ones, fives, tens) and bring it with them to church on the second Sunday of the month. The congregation loves hearing about these local projects, and it gives everyone an opportunity to participate," said Rev. Larry O'Dell, pastor.
Increased awareness of these programs has encouraged hands-on involvement, with church members and youth volunteering to help the various projects. Members of Lea Joyner Memorial UMC's youth group are pictured in this article making and delivering care packages for the "Under the Bridge" Homeless Ministry.