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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Lakewood UMC’s Blessing Box

    June 18, 2019 / By Rev. Michael Childs, Pastor, and Nancy Meyer, Mission Chairperson Lakewood UMC

    It all started with a clothesline and a cold winter in Lakewood, New York. In 2017, after much conversation among the Lakewood UMC Mission Team, it was decided to install a clothesline on the church property. The line was close to the road and easily accessible to the surrounding community. The line was filled with zip lock bags of all sizes containing hats, gloves, scarves, and socks – all which were donated by the LUMC congregation. As the winter grew colder, the line saw much use. We started to hang sweaters, sweatshirts and an occasional jacket or coat. The line was replenished whenever it was empty. Our congregation supported our efforts to keep our community warm that winter, and it was a true blessing for all – both giver and receiver.

    Then mission chair, Nancy Meyer, heard of the Blessing Box. “What in heaven’s name is a Blessing Box?” you may ask. ”It’s an opportunity,” said Pastor Mike Childs, “for a person to bless someone else, or, for a person to receive a blessing and the whole process is anonymous!”  It is like God’s Pantry and anyone is welcome to use it!

    Missions team contacted Randy Davidson, husband of former Pastor Violet Davidson, and he agreed to construct the box for us. Lillian Brown added the finishing touch of praying hands to adorn the two front doors of the cupboard. Soon, Lakewood UMC erected the Blessing Box cupboard with guidance from Donald Thorp, Chair of Trustees and then Kurt Sturzenbecker and Doug Brown of Ol Dawg Renovations, LLC, kindly installed the box gratis.

    The Lakewood UMC congregation held a service of dedication on October 14, 2018 and the response has been truly amazing. This 24/7 Lord’s Pantry Blessing Box has already helped countless individuals and families. “When you come up to this blessing cupboard, you will never know what items may be inside,” said the pastor.”  There are some food items, paper products, cleaning supplies and miscellaneous. And the items will vary over time. If you need an item, please take it with God’s blessing!  If you find that you have extra to share – you can drop off the item at any time.”

    Our mission team will be seeking items from the congregation, so we can always keep items filled with the desirable items. They can also give monetary gifts and we will shop for the items needed. The clothesline was relocated next to the Blessing Box this past winter, providing warm clothing for adults and children.

    Members of the community have embraced our ministry by donating hand-made hats and various other needed items. A local bank branch took up a food collection, just for the Blessing Box to show their support!

    We stock seasonal items that may appeal to individuals at holiday times. For example, we had Easter baskets just prior to Easter and they were very popular. It continues to be a wonderful blessing to our community. Recently we’ve added note paper and pencil so people may leave a prayer request or a note of thanks or praise, so we can pray for them or their situation, or celebrate their life victories. It is another way we can connect to our local community. Such a blessing to us!

    There is a great expectation that God will bless people in remarkable ways through this 24/7 Blessing Box ministry – The Lord’s Pantry.

    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."