SMITHTON: Church's Festival of Sharing supports national, international ministries

Monday, October 10, 2011 | 4:56 p.m. CDT

SMITHTON — The smell of cinnamon rolls wafted from the cafe at Community United Methodist Church on Sunday. Men from the church were up early to prepare dozens of rolls as part of the church’s Festival of Sharing.

The festival highlights the ministries the church supports nationally and internationally. A festival in May will focus on local ministries.

Nearly a dozen booths circled the cafe, providing information about various causes. 

Through Heifer International, an organization focused on ending world hunger and poverty, the church purchased rabbits to help poverty stricken families in Guatemala. 

Another project the church supported was the collection of health kits to be distributed through the Church World Service. These kits are sent to disaster areas all over the world and include supplies such as hand towels, washcloths, toothbrushes and soap.  

Over the years the church has supported the construction and maintenance of a church in Mozambique, and helps programs in Nicaragua.

"We have over the years maintained two countries of which we give support," Ava Swofford, the church's Connectial Ministries chair, said. "In Mozambique we helped build a church, wells and continue to support the salary of the pastor, and with the Rainbow Network Ministries in Nicaragua, we send money and needed supplies, such as clothes, shoes, baby layettes and tools."

In addition, many church members support scholarship funds that assist children in Nicaragua.

Rick Ellsworth, the church's Sending Leader, stressed the importance of awareness at the event. 

"Giving back can't just be monetary gifts," Ellsworth said. "It has to be an awareness change. That's what changes our hearts and our attitudes."

The statewide Festival of Sharing will occur Saturday in Sedalia.

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