Martin Luther King Day Observance – 2017
Students from Troy UMC will impact the lives of 700 people through just one day of volunteering at the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham, IL. Together this group of seven assembled 700 personal dignity kits (PDK) – enough to fill 35 boxes! Each PDK contains a comb, nail clippers, razor, bar of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant wrapped in a washcloth and hand towel. These are distributed through churches and community agencies primarily within the United Methodist North Central Jurisdiction (ND, SD, MN, IA, WI, IL, MI, IN, & OH) during times of need – back to school, moving into foster care, holidays, transitioning from prison. PDKs have been given recently to people as close as Missouri and as far away as Nigeria. Our students reflected on the day saying, “We enjoyed working together to help people in need in such a simple and practical way.” Participating students include Bradan Bruce, Brock Cunningham, Megan Darby, Samm Niehaus, and Ruby Price with adult sponsors: Nick Goodwin and Rev. Kurt Stone.
By late afternoon the students caught up with Resident Bishop, Rev. Frank Beard, of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference for “The Courage to Love,” a service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sponsored by the Area United Methodist Churches of the Sangamon River District and hosted by Kumler UMC in Springfield, IL. The service included inspirational music, a student dance corps, a testimony from the Illinois Innocent Project, and a powerfully dramatic reading by Bishop Beard of three excerpts of King’s sermons and speeches – “Why Jesus Called Man a Fool,” “The Drum Major Instinct, “ and “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top.” The service concluded with a covenant prayer of recommitment to justice and a lively rendition of “Lift Every voice and Sing!”