Impact Appalachia was a resounding success! Thank you to all the people who put in invaluable man (and woman) hours to make this event a time to remember.
Over 800 people from the Red Bird Missionary Conference and the Kentucky Annual Conference worked side by side to truly have an impact on the nine counties served by the Red Bird Missionary Conference. The day began with everyone meeting at their assigned locations and having a moment of prayer before starting the work of being Christ's hands and feet. People of all ages painted, worked carnival booths, planted gardens and did a host of other activities.
Amy Cottrell, a volunteer staffer at Camp O'Cumberlands, listed the numerous tasks performed by just one of the work teams participating in Impact Appalachia. They installed a water heater, a toilet, and faucets; painted six picnic tables, two walk bridges, and a fence; cleaned the ceiling in the Chapel, Laurel Lodge, and the girls’ dorm; swept leaves; and loaded a truck with concrete slabs and tree trunks.
Shirely Crouse, a retired teacher who worked at the Red Bird School for 40 years, was pleased to work with the Impact volunteers.
"I think it's a wonderful way for us to get acquainted with other people in the Kentucky Conference and for them to get a hands-on feeling for what the work is like here, to meet some of the people here and for those people from here to meet them."
The one thing that permeated throughout all of the worksites was the overwhelming feeling of love. It is amazing how pulling together as Christians fosters such a loving community. As Ms. Cottrell put it, "I don't know how to put it into words. We are so grateful for the work team from Highland UMC in Fort Thomas. The work teams help keep this camp going and we appreciate it so much."
Robert Grose, pastor of Stoney Fork UMC in the Red Bird Conference, also expressed appreciation for the workers who had helped make improvements to the church's building. He also gave thanks to God, saying, “Through the grace of God, look here today, we're all here for Jesus. If it wasn't for Jesus, there isn’t a person that would be here today.…The Lord's blessed us; he's blessed us well here.”
Bishop Lindsey Davis had lunch with the volunteers at Henderson Settlement and then went out into the mission field himself to deliver meals and do home visitations.
"I know it was a positive impact," said Bishop Davis, "but I think as much as the food, it was the company, the presence and the prayer. I think that's equally important."
Later Bishop Davis spoke at the closing celebration for the day of service. Over 300 volunteers met back at the Red Bird School Gym, where dinner was served and the choir from the Red Bird School led worship. Bishop Davis gave thanks for all of the volunteers and their service throughout the day. He talked about the rich partnership between the Kentucky Conference and the Red Bird Conference and how we are building relationships and showing the love of Christ.
Impact Appalachia was organized by United Methodist Communications in conjunction with the Kentucky Annual Conference and the Red Bird Missionary Conference. Impact Appalachia is part of the Rethink Church initiative that utilizes outreach events to make a difference in the world beyond the church doors.