Tiny Community, Enormous Hearts
Our Walk of Faith at Coupeville UMC
By Suzanne Loomis
Additional photos by The Rev. Jin Ming Ma and Wikipedia
As of the 2013 census, Coupeville, Wash. has a population of less than 2000. Our United Methodist Church has a total membership of less than 250. But annually, we raise close to $20,000 to support giving opportunities, both locally and around the world. How do we do it?
It’s the season of love, and our members know – and live – the true meaning of the word. But we don’t limit our love to just one season; we practice unrestrained caring and generosity throughout the year. Both young and old support those in need, whether the needy are kids in Africa who deserve to thrive both physically and intellectually, or families in our own community who cannot afford their food or basic medications.
Some of this giving follows a process: Annually, Our Missions Committee members meet and, aided by recommendations from UMCOR, our Conference or our Bishop, they identify giving opportunities to focus on throughout the coming year. “It isn’t rocket science”, says Val Hillers, the Missions Committee chairperson, “it’s just finding opportunities, and following your passions for giving…as simply as possible.”
One way in which we have simplified the giving process is through our annual “Eggs for Easter” campaign, which provides one dozen eggs for each needy family in the community. The number of needy families is identified by our local “Gifts From the Heart” food bank, and then we call on our kids to lead the way. Each child is given a plastic egg to fill with money, then everyone follows suit. It’s fun for the kids and adults alike.
It’s important to identify and schedule giving opportunities in the form of fundraising events (our annual Strawberry Social and Christmas Bazaar, for example), but we also respond quickly and generously to Emergency calls for assistance, such as last year’s Oso landslide response and Bishop Hagiya’s appeal for “Imagine No Malaria”. Of our total giving, over $3000 went to support those efforts.
“I’m blessed to serve this Missional Church, full of people who have a spirit of generosity that spans generations”, says Pastor Jin Ming Ma.
At Coupeville United Methodist church, we recognize that giving generously is part of our walk of faith with God and each other. We encourage other congregations – both large and small – to join us in responding to the needs of those less fortunate…there are so many!