SERVING OUR WORLD- MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Events, Ministries, and Projects that Give Back
We celebrate the unique gifts and talents that each person in our midst brings to our world to be the hands and feet of Christ.
We are thankful for all the ways that lives are touched each day. See the descriptors below for just a few of the many opportunities through which you can make a difference.
Current Special Focus:
Lent and Easter Mission Giving Opportunity
February 14th through March 31st
We invite you to help support the Bethlehem Inn of Waseca as our 2024 BGUMC Lent & Easter Mission Giving Opportunity. This faith-based organization provides short-term transitional housing for homeless women and children, as well as social service connections to empower these families to improve their lives and be able to journey toward a more stable future. The impact that they have on the lives of women and children is amazing.
They are located at 400 2nd Ave NW, Waseca – right across from Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The building once served as the residence hall for the nuns of Sacred Heart.
Since opening in January of 2019, they have served 357 homeless women and children (190 women and 167 children). In 2023 they served 43 women and 32 children.
Their goal: To assist women and children without permanent housing to find the resources necessary for housing and support services. All guests agree to an assessment prior to housing placement. Each guest also follows a standard of placement guidelines while at Bethlehem Inn.
The overall operation of Bethlehem Inn is overseen by the Board of Directors working with a program director. The guests share in the responsibilities for the care of the house in cooperation with the director and staff of volunteers. Management by full-time and part time paid staff.
If you would like to contribute, please note “Bethlehem Inn” on your check or offering envelope, and place your donation in the white “offering coffeepot” at the back of the sanctuary. Checks should be made out to Blooming Grove UMC. Financial gifts toward Bethlehem Inn may be made from February 14th through March 31st. In the weeks ahead, we will also provide an opportunity for a tangible hands-on way in which we can support their work.
Help Make a Difference:
Each Christmas, our congregation supports MN families in need, through our local Adopt-a-Family program, coordinated by the Medford High School National Honor Society, or through the Gift Card Program of Emma Norton Services (a Twin Cities organization affiliated with the United Methodist Church), for the women and children they serve.
BGUMC Accessibility Project
During 2020 and 2021, we constructed a new south entrance at BGUMC in order to make our building more accessible and welcoming to all. This has been accomplished through the work of our primary building contractor, numerous local sub-contractors, local craftsmen and women, our trustees, and members of our congregation. We invite community support and involvement by hosting public events - at which all supplies are donated, and proceeds go to the building fund:
Lenten Drive-Up Walleye Fish Fry
Summer Outdoor Walleye Fish Fry at Half-Pint Brewing Company, our Blooming Grove Township neighbor
Summer BBQ Picnic and Outdoor Johnny Cash Tribute Concert on the grounds of BGUMC
Community Outdoor Worship Service at Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm
Each year, on the first Sunday of October, we help host our Prairie Lakes Parish worship service and pizza lunch at Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm - our rural Blooming Grove Township neighbor. The event is open to persons living in the surrounding communities, Pizza Farm customers, and all persons in the three churches of the Prairie Lakes Parish.
COVID-19 Face Mask Ministry
Women from our congregation sewed 700+ face masks and gave them to local hospitals, public health organizations, fire stations, schools, and businesses - as well as to our congregation’s family members and friends.
Feed My Starving Children
Intergenerational members of our congregation participate in the highly energetic and life-transforming work of Feed My Starving Children pack sessions.
Fleece Blanket Ministry
Intergenerational members of our congregation gather to tie fleece blankets to distribute to local organizations who help support people in need, including local transitional housing programs and local hospitals.
Local Food Shelves
We host the following public events - at which all supplies are donated, and proceeds go to our local food shelves:
Spring Breakfast, hosted by the Men of BGUMC
Fall Run 4 the Loaves 4-Mile Run/Walk
Fall BBQ Cook-Off
November Evening of Thanksgiving Fun
Local High School Senior Scholarships
Each spring, our local United Women in Faith group provides scholarships for two graduating seniors at a local high school. Funds for these scholarships are raised through UMW “Food Stand” sales at BGUMC community events, as well as other opportunities to give to this project.
Mission Projects of our United Women in Faith Group
Throughout the year, our local United Women in Faith group supports mission work through public events such as the Easter Breakfast - at which all supplies are donated, and proceeds are given to special mission projects, which have included the following:
United Women in Faith Legacy Fund
Mission Projects of the MN, USA, and the international United Methodist Women’s Organizations
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Artisans in our congregation knit/crochet prayer shawls of warmth and love to be given to people in need of support and prayer. Our congregation “loads” each shawl with prayers for its specific recipient before it begins its journey into their lives. We know the power of prayer, for we have seen it at work first hand.
Sharing and Caring Ministry for Organizations that provide support for Persons in Need
July - August 2022: Hands-On Project for Faribault District One Hospital - organized by Raelyn Janke, BGUMC Confirmation student. This project helped restock the Faribault District One Hospital ER's clothing cupboard inventory - distributed to ER patients that are delivered in ambulances who many need clean and "whole" clothing items after they are treated - as well as to elderly patients who may need extra clothing help when leaving the hospital. Our congregation supported this project with donations of 130 articles of men's clothing, 110 articles of women's clothing, and 60 articles of children's clothing.
September 2022: Hands-On Project for Ruth's House in Faribault. Ruth's House provides transitional housing in a safe , supportive, and healing environment to help women and families on their way to a new beginning. Since the onset of COVID, they had been in ongoing need of restocking many items typically donated by local service groups. Our congregation supported this project with donations of many household and personal care supplies.
November 2022 and 2023: Hands-On Project for Medford Public Schools. BGUMC partnered with Medford Public Schools to help replenish their supply of spare winter clothes for their students. Our congregation gathered, and/or made an abundance of toasty socks, sweatshirts, pull-over jackets, t-shirts, long underwear, hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves to help keep children warm who may not have access to much in the way of winter clothing.
April - May 2023: Hands-On Project for United Methodist Midwest Distribution Center in Illinois. BGUMC gathered materials for, and assembled, Personal Dignity kits to be delivered by our MN Conference of the United Methodist Church to the Midwest Distribution Center in Illinois, an organization founded/supported by the United Methodist Church. Their mission: to show God's love in a practical way to those in need. Supplies, including Personal Dignity Kits, are distributed freely in times of crisis through the organization's trusted partner non-profits throughout the US and the world, working with people from all places and backgrounds.
Special Mission Offerings (Quarterly, in celebration of Lent/Easter, Springtime, Fall, Advent/Christmas)
During these seasons of the church year, we support people and programs outside of our congregation through special mission offerings, which have included the following:
Bethlehem Inn, of Waseca, a faith-based organization that provides short-term transitional housing for homeless women and children, as well as social service connections to empower these families to improve their lives and be able to journey toward a more stable future
Disaster relief programs of the United Methodist Church, both in the USA and overseas
Emma Norton Services, a Twin Cities organization affiliated with the United Methodist Church, that provides transformational housing and growth for women and families on their journey of recovery
Local Food Shelves and Minnesota Food Share
Local Families in the midst of heartbreaking circumstances
Love Offering of the MN Conference of the United Methodist Church - an annual project which supports various service programs in MN, the USA, and overseas
Support of global mission partners of the United Methodist Church
United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries: Kamisamba Farm & Training Center
We have an ongoing mission-giving partnership with the Kamisamba Farm and Training Center (KFTC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo - in their work connected to the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM).
In the province where the KFTC is located - 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. Farming is the main source of income, and 90% of the population uses traditional subsistence agriculture to survive. Most cannot produce enough to feed their families, afford basic education for their children or medical care. Many people survive on one meal a day.
The KFTC, now fully functional, has a herd of pigs, a herd of goats, locks of chickens and ducks, and fish ponds - and cares for more than 35 acres planted in vegetables, grains and fruit trees.
The KFTC shares the skills and knowledge they have gained by serving as a teaching farm. It includes a teaching center, with dormitories for up to 40 people. Participants come to training programs for a few days or a few months to learn better and more efficient ways to raise food. The KFTC also holds “train the trainers” events with participants sent from each surrounding district to learn the basics of starting, caring for, and harvesting more productive gardens. Participants then take the knowledge back to their districts to train others. In addition, the KFTC has held trainings in multiple area districts, and provided seeds, animals, small fish or saplings to participants. Training onsite in communities helps KFTC workers discern which type of production has the best chance to thrive in a given area. After training, they visit again to accompany people through the first growing season. As farmers experience increased yields, training on marketing and conserving seed for the next season helps them gain perspective on farming as a business beyond subsistence.
2021 Update: Thanks to a solar energy project, the farm is now equipped with electricity, running water, bathrooms, and showers - and the training space can be rented, which brings in much-needed income.
2022 Update: In the spring, they started their first ever Seed Production Enterprise venture. Soon, people will start to see the Kamisamba logo and name on the seed markets for maize and soybeans. In April, they were blessed with a generous donation of farming implements to the widow's association at Kamisamba. In May, their long-awaited tractor finally made its way to the farm! In the summer, the Kamisamba Farm hosted a meeting with a women's group on how the farm can collaborate and bring development and empowerment of women in the conference. In the fall, the Kamisamba Farm was selected to train youth entrepreneurs.
2023 Update: They are now known as a leading force in sustainable development in 24 districts under the United Methodist Church in Congo. This year, they began cultivating rice. They continue planting maize and soya for consumption - as well as to be sold through their Seed Production Enterprise - and to also donate to pensioners and widows to help them have a way to increase their livelihood. They are now connected to the internet! They continue their emphasis on education and have added classes in which they teach students how to handle their administrative and financial books when they open their own agricultural enterprises. This summer, we've received news that the farm is in the process of building a restaurant with capacity to hold 150 people at a time!
On a personal note:
Cindy Saufferer, of BGUMC, traveled to the KFTC as part of her work with the United Methodist GBGM. While there, she met Lorraine Charinda, GBGM missionary, serving as an Agricultural Rural Economic Development specialist in the North Katanga Episcopal Area in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Lorraine is the primary leader at the KFTC, and has become “friends” with BGUMC over the years through our Facebook page, and through our support of the work of the KFTC.
United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries: Mission Work in SE Asia
In 2023 we began supporting the work of two missionaries in SE Asia who are serving the people of that region.