A Conference closet overflows with blessings

January 25, 2008

The plan to provide basic office equipment to California-Nevada Conference churches has gone from concept to overflowing closet to overwhelming blessing.


In December, 27 computers and flat screen monitors, along with several printers, were delivered to the United Methodist Center in West Sacramento. They were purchased as part of a grants program administered by the Conference Communications Commission, with a goal of ensuring that each church in the Conference has the technology necessary for effective ministry in the year 2008.


conference computersNow the process of putting them in the hands of those churches is underway – and proving to be an indescribable blessing to those involved.


“I can’t tell you how emotional I get, seeing those computers go out … and knowing what a huge impact they’re going to have for those churches,” said one Conference staff member. “It’s a privilege just to see the faces of people who come to pick them up.” 


And there are other blessings, as Director of Communications Jeneane Jones explains. “It’s been a wonderful way for churches to see their Conference apportionment dollars at work. It’s also been a journey of faith. We took the little we had, and gave it to God, who did the rest. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”


The communications commission announced the inaugural program in June, 2007 and by the November 1 deadline had 49 applications to consider, coming from churches of varying sizes in all seven districts. With a budget of $25,000 commission members were challenged to arrive at the most equitable distribution of funds – but also were exhilarated by the process. The Rev. Ardith Allread, commission chairwoman, spoke for all in saying, “It has been so exciting for us to be able to make these grants and to help so many congregations come up to speed!”


On Thursday, January 17 lay members Marge Pliley and her husband, Jim, traveled from Georgetown, California to West Sacramento to make Georgetown Community UMC the first church to receive a computer from Director of Connectional Ministries Linda Wiberg. The Rev. Bobby Jones of Sacramento’s Oak Park UMC, below, had a shorter journey to pick up his church’s computer. As of this writing 16 computers and one printer have been distributed.


Rev. Bobby JonesIn addition to the awards of computers and printers, four churches are receiving an outright cash grant (amounts vary) to provide Internet service or a telephone answering machine. Fourteen requests were eliminated from consideration for funding at this time – but it is planned that the Local Church Equipment Grants program will be an ongoing one, with the commission able to meet additional needs in 2009.


“For me, this is ministry in the making. I am so grateful and proud of the hard work the Communications Commission has done to shift our budget priorities and make this happen,” says Jones. “In this high tech age of communications, we have a mandate to provide our churches with the tools necessary to communicate the Word, and help make Disciples of Jesus Christ. This is our commission’s ministry and a legacy I hope will thrive in this conference!”