Conway First United Methodist Church
The History Committee of Conway First United Methodist Church is hosting a Fifth Sunday Program on Sunday, June 29, to highlight several ways the people of Conway FUMC have worked during the past half century in the establishment and/or operation of community-wide missions.
The program, titled “Fulfilling the Legacy of John Wesley in Conway,” will be held at 10 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. The public is invited.
Four church members will speak for a few minutes on four missions that have over the years become institutionalized in the broader community. Speakers will be Elizabeth Humphreys, Clifton Day Care Center (1968); Ginny Kopper; Conway Recycling Program (1990s); Roger Lewis, Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas (1995); and Shelley Mehl, Conway Interfaith Clinic (2003).
Committee chairman Jim Bruce said the program is “a way to fulfill our responsibility to inform our congregation about how our past collective endeavors can be seen as expressions of our core values as a church, and also to inspire present and future efforts to enact these values in service to the broader community.”
Clifton Day Care
First United Methodist Church is now in its 40th year of providing Early Childhood Education to the children and families of Faulkner County. From the School for Little People to the Early Childhood Center, FUMC has been on the cutting edge of childcare, evolving with the times. According to the church history book, the Round Table Sunday School class discussed topics of common interest, but also talked of social concerns. Out of these discussions came the creation of early childhood education at Conway FUMC. The School for Little People — a private nursery school for 4- and 5-year-olds aimed at serving low-income families — was established in September 1972. Later, the class supported Clifton Day Care Center, which continued until the 1990s. Today, weekday educational programming for children is successfully carried out at the Early Childhood Center.
Conway Recycling Program
These days, many Conway residents probably take for granted the convenience of curbside recycling. Some Methodists probably remember a time when they would haul their newspapers to the church and put them into a small storage building. Once a month, a container would be delivered to the church’s parking lot and a team would pack it full. When the market for newspaper dropped, dedicated recyclers could only find outlets for aluminum cans.
With the advent of Kroger’s recycling program that promoted recycling of plastic and glass and the cooperation of the Conway Sanitation Department, volunteer teams gathered once a month to unpack contributions from a long line of vehicles. The willingness of the volunteers and those who saved and hauled their recyclables ultimately proved to the city leaders that a curbside program would be effective, and resulted in the service we enjoy today. The transition in the recycling program from a meager monthly container of newspaper to the tons of varied materials that are now recycled daily happened in part because of members of the local Methodist Church.
Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas
The Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas was a project started in 1993 by the Church and Society committee of the First United Methodist Church. Ann Davis and Roger Lewis were co-chairs of the committee. Julie Peterson, a member of the committee, suggested we explore the possibility of establishing a home for women who were victims of domestic violence. We felt that this would be a larger project than what the committee could manage and didn’t actively pursue the project.
Then in 1994, the O.J. Simpson incident happened and the public interest in domestic violence heightened. An article appeared in the Log Cabin Democrat on domestic violence and in that article it stated that the First United Methodist Church was starting a women’s shelter. The monkey was on our back, so to speak. We received some contributions, seed money, to start a program.
The first activity was a 24-hour hotline for domestic violence, manned by volunteers. The Conway Police Department worked closely with us and when necessary victims were placed in hotels for shelter.
The committee realized the need for a facility and a domestic violence support program. It was decided to incorporate as a 501-c3 non-profit corporation and reach out to the community and other churches for support. Several grants were obtained, an executive director was hired and a house rented on Center Street. The shelter later moved to a larger house on Western Avenue owned by UCA and then a large very well built house was located and purchased.
The success in founding the Women’s Shelter was that a group of people with different skill sets came together to merge their talents working to a common goal. The shelter continues today serving victims of domestic violence. During 2013, 88 women and 51 were housed for an average 29 nights varying from one night to six months.
Conway Interfaith Clinic
Conway Interfaith Clinic opened on Oct. 22, 2003, following two years of planning by church and civic leaders who were concerned about the increasing need for medical and dental care for underserved residents of Faulkner County. The clinic provides medical care using an advanced practice nurse, pediatric dental care, medications and referrals to other providers. Our dental clinic offers full care to children and pain management extractions for adults.
In December 2010, the medical clinic moved to a larger building adjacent to the dental after purchasing the United Services Center building from United Way. The clinic has an annual operating budget of more than $828,000 with 14 employees. Currently we are serving more than 3,500. Over the history of the clinic we have served more than 15,000 patients.
Our board of directors includes a mix of medical and dental practitioners plus community supporters. Many of the current and former board members are members of First United Methodist Church.
HIPPA regulations prevent sharing information about our patients, but here is a quote from one of our medical patients, Pam, “Conway Interfaith Clinic kept me from having a stroke and actually saved my life.”
The church is at 1610 Prince St. (corner of Clifton and Prince) in Conway. For more information, call the church at 329-3801 or visit the website at www.conwayfumc.org.
Holland Baptist Church
Continuing in the book of I John Bro. Chad Brandon preached from Chapter 2 verses 12-14 Sunday morning. John was writing as a father to his children. Each child is at a different stage of growth. As children of God we grow, mature, at different rates.
There is commonness in the family of God. Our position does not depend on age. We’re “born again,” born from above. Each of us has received God’s pardon for our sins. He has forgiven us for his pleasure. He saved us for his glory and wants us to live victoriously for His glory. We should reflect the attributes of our Heavenly Father.
If we aren’t growing in our relationship with the Lord our growth is stunted. The young men in this passage had overcome the wicked one. They were strong. As we understand and memorize the scripture we will overcome the adversary through the power of Holy Spirit and the Word.
Life in Christ seems to be growth then set backs, victories then failures. If we walk as He walked we continue to grow each day. Where are we on the road to spiritual maturity? When we fall, which we will do, we must get up and walk again.
We had an outstanding Vacation Bible School. The children were loved and taught God’s Word. They were well-behaved and attentive, just a good group of boys and girls. Our dedicated workers worked hard to make it exciting and fun while teaching God’s truths. Family night was well attended. The boys and girls delivered through music and scripture the message taught all week. They did an awesome job!
Several children in 3rd through 6th grades attended church camp at Cold Springs Retreat this week. We were blessed to have Diane Cummings and Mary Drysdale as counselors.
Sunday, June 29, we will celebrate Independence Day following the morning worship service. Barbecue with the trimmings will be served. We’ve been asked to bring our favorite desserts. Fellowshipping and games will continue in the afternoon. Evening services will be dismissed.
We continue to pray for the Pettys. Betsy’s father went to be with his Lord last week.
Let us remember to thank God for the freedom we still enjoy in the USA because of those brave men and women who went before us!
Wesley United Methodist Church
The Wesley United Methodist Church has four RV spaces on its grounds. During the clean-up and recovery since the April 27th tornado, these spaces have been used by the Arkansas Conference Disaster Coordinators and other volunteers. Several spaces have been used by the Seventh Day Adventist Disaster and Recovery teams, while United Methodist Volunteers in Mission have used the spaces. The Seventh Day Adventist group and other teams have used the Church’s Fellowship Hall and Kitchen to provide meals for the volunteers.
Conway is conveniently located near the disaster area, and so the Wesley United Methodist Church has been a gathering place to send teams to the various work assignments. The church is planning to add two RV spaces in the near future. Volunteer teams interested in using the RV spaces should contact the Arkansas Conference Disaster Recovery Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fifth Annual Market Day will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church on Saturday, July 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited. This indoor market will feature fresh produce, eggs, baked goods, jams and jellies, and handcrafted items. The highlight of the market will be a silent auction with a quilt completed by the Wesley Keenagers quilting circle going to the highest bidder. The final bid will be taken when the market ends at 1 p.m. Proceeds from this fundraiser will be applied to the church’s building fund.
If you have any questions, please call the church office at 327-7629. The church is located at 2310 E. Oak St., across from Caldwell Country Store.