How Endwell UMC lives out the mission of the United Methodist Church Part II
Editor's Note: We recently highlighted how Endwell UMC works to feed the hunger through its mobile food pantry and its Monday night dinners. Click here to read that story.Below, we feature how Endwell UMC lives out the mission of the United Methodist Church by serving children, multicultural communities, and communities outside of their local area
Endwell UMC has offered a Preschool to the community for 53 years. Darlene Darrow, an Endwell UMC church member has been involved in this ministry for over 20 years and is currently the President of the Endwell Preschool’s Board. The preschool has a tuition-based program for 3-year-olds as well as a free Universal Pre-K program for 4-year-olds.
Darlene said, “The Preschool offers a very nurturing environment. While it’s not Christian-based, the children are supported spiritually.”
Both Rev. Kimpland and Endwell Associate Pastor, the Rev. Sean Chanthasone regularly read stories to the preschool children.
Darlene adder, “We have had people in the community become members of the church because they learned about us through their children attending the preschool.”
Children and youth ministries
When Lynne Kimpland arrived at Endwell for her husband’s appointment nine years ago, the church only had four members under the age of 18. Involved in children’s ministries for 36 years, Lynne has grown the ministry at Endwell to include over 50 children and youth. She has accomplished this by offering what she calls “entry points.”
These entry points are family-oriented community events hosted by the church.
Every October, the church offers a Trunk-or-Treat. This past year, 1,600 people attended. In January, they host an Olaf Winter Fest where the high school youth dress as princesses for the celebration. This event, which has taken place for eight years had over 1,000 people in attendance in 2020. In spring, the church offers “Breakfast with the Bunny “and for their summer Vacation Bible School, they go all out for the community kids, including renting a waterslide.
Lynne enters all the names of every child and guardian for each event into a database and uses their contact information to keep them up-to-date on church happenings.
The church currently offers Children’s Church to toddlers, PreK-second graders, 3rd and 4th graders, 5th graders, 6th graders, and beyond.
Describing the program, Lynne said, “I refrain from calling it Sunday School because the kids are in school all week. I use a program called Celebrate Wonder from Cokesbury. The way it works is that Rev. Kimpland or Rev. or Rev. Chanthasone offers a children’s sermon that gives them a taste of what their lesson and activities will be at Children’s Church. Every age child gets an age-appropriate lesson on the same topic as do the adults in the sanctuary. This gives families the opportunity to talk about the lessons together.”
COVID did not hamper Lynne’s efforts. She offered a successful online program since the pandemic started in March 2020. Recently, she has started a children’s choir that has over 20 participants.
The youth group at Endwell is very active in the community. They are being awarded the "Lives of Commitment Award" in 2022 from the Broome County Council of Churches to honor their work in building ramps in the community.
Broome County multicultural ministries
For almost two years, Rev. Chanthasone and the Rev. Jose Rodrigue have led the Broome County Multicultural Ministry at Endwell United Methodist Church. Not only does Rev. Chanthasone offer a Laotian service at the church every Sunday and Rev. Rodriguez offer a Hispanic service every Sunday, but both also serve area immigrants and ethnic minorities with several needs. They have brought gifts to children during Christmas; They bring food to families’ homes; They have made phone calls throughout the pandemic checking up on people, and have brought people to their vaccine appointments.
Rev. Rodriguez sends out daily meditations via email to the families he and Rev. Chanthasone have connected with.
They have recently connected with a Haitian family who wanted to be a part of the church because of its multicultural ministries.
Rev. Chantasone said, “Endwell helping us financially and facility wise has allowed us to build a successful ministry.”
Rev. Rodriguez said, “This is the first time that I have found a church that is so open to my ideas, and they put their leaders on the table to work with me and to connect me to the Hispanic community. I just love that the people here are willing to take risks in doing missions.”
The Red Bird Mission
Endwell UMC is not only successful with their local missions, but also, they are also successful in global missions. One of their strongest ministries is the work they do for the Red Bird Mission, a mission center in Kentucky that helps low-income families living in the Appalachian Mountains.
Endwell member Tom Scheibner leads the shoebox collection in Upper New York every fall, picking up the thousands of shoeboxes, sheets and blankets collected in each region of UNY and delivering them to Red Bird Mission.
Tom said, “It’s just phenomenal all of the people across the Conference who help and the people I meet when I drive the truckloads of donations down to Red Bird. People from tiny churches and large churches all so generous. The recipients of these essential needs are so grateful.”
Endwell UMC also sends teams down to Red Bird for work camps to help repair peoples’ homes.
The many ministries that take place at Endwell UMC showcase how members have been the hands and feet of Jesus throughout the community and beyond.
The Endwell congregation is bringing people to Jesus.
Over the past seven years, 54 people have shared their faith witness with the congregation. They can do this on Witness Sundays, which take place four to six times a year—these Sundays are a time of telling stories of faith, so that others might see themselves in the stories and eventually share their own.
Rev. Kimpland said, “One of the most gratifying things for me as a pastor of this church is just being out in the community and people saying, ‘your church is doing wonderful work—stay the course!’”