Bowling for HOPE

Bowling for HOPE

Many thanks to everyone who came out and supported our fundraiser for HOPE Missions Ethiopia! The more than $11,000 that you raised will fund mission trips to rural villages like Sebeta and Woliso. These funds are more than just dollars; they are answered prayers that mean improved health and well-being for countless families. They also provide an opportunity for members of our congregation to share the love of Christ for the transformation of the world as they install water filters and interact with the children at Hope for Korah. But this mission’s impact isn’t just felt in Ethiopia. Your generous donations also enabled several local families, as well as our homeless neighbors, to enjoy an afternoon of free bowling! We are grateful to Pinboy’s at the Beach for their hospitality and to our corporate sponsors for their generosity. And in case you’re wondering, it’s never too late for you to support HOPE Missions Ethiopia. All it takes is $80 to provide an Ethiopian family and their neighbors with clean, healthy water for the next 30 years. Please prayerfully consider giving today.

“I participated in Bowling for HOPE because I thought it was a fun way to support the good work we are doing in Africa and enjoy some time with friends. It was pleasure with a purpose.” -Pastor Mark Miller.

“I am a volunteer for the Potter’s House and this is the first time I have participated in Bowling for HOPE. I wanted to support HOPE Missions Ethiopia to help raise funds for the water filters. I had fun and it was also nice to see some families that normally wouldn’t have been able to afford to bowl having a great time! I am excited to participate in future missions opportunities.” –Lucinda Wroblewski.

“I always enjoy attending the Bowling fundraiser. What a great fun way to support others! Every year we sell raffle tickets to the HOPE bowlers at the bowling alley. This year, a family celebrating a birthday came up to us and asked what the tickets were for. They were so impressed that they purchased some tickets and didn’t even wait for the raffle! I even won something this year, which was very exciting!” – Judy Clement

A Confirmation Journeyconfirmation faith journey

Sunday, May 20 was confirmation Sunday.  This is an important milestone for youth in that they become full-fledged members of our church.  More importantly, they are on a faith journey to learn more about their relationship with Jesus, how they can relate that to the church, and how the church supports them through this. The act of being confirmed is the visible culmination of weeks of study, self-reflection, group discussion, prayer, and more.  It is where young people publicly declare their commitment to honor God and their Church by living as a “disciple of Christ,” and their intention to continue that journey throughout their lives. 

We were blessed with 11 confirmands this year. 

My son, Wyatt was confirmed Sunday May 20th at Virginia Beach United Methodist. The days before, I had been reflecting on how huge that event feels to me and how excited I was that he was choosing confirmation. I spent of big part of my life as a non-Christian. I found myself at VBUMC through the MOPS program in 2010. I remember pulling into the parking lot and saying to myself “Crap. It’s in a ‘churchy church.’” Long story short, I found Christ in this “churchy church.” My son Wyatt is autistic and super literal, so when he was a little boy and I was trying to get him “to do church” with me the concept of God was such an abstract thing for him to grasp. For Wyatt’s mind, I couldn’t provide tangible proof of Gods existence, therefore, He simply didn’t exist. It took years here. Through continual attendance, Sunday School, the childcare (Cove), the music ministry/praise band, CREW, various opportunities to serve, even VBS, we learned who God is through His people. More, Wyatt learned that God exists because his teachers at VBUMC are walking, talking (proof/tangible) evidence of Him.

I became a believer and somewhere along our journey together, Wyatt hit the “I believe” button as well and he’s chosen to be confirmed. I can’t even describe how full my heart is and how proud I am of Wyatt!”

– Sarah Rigowski, church member

Potter’s House Report May 2018

The total value of support provided in the form of financial aid, bikes, and food was $33,934.06.  We conducted 190 interviews for financial aid, fed 441 households at Fresh Food Wednesday, and did this with the support of 319 volunteers! 

Among the reasons for needing financial assistance are:

  • fell behind on bills due to a needed auto repair and needing to fly to father’s funeral.
  • single Mom with 2 kids is no longer receiving SSI for children with sickle cell anemia.
  • supports adult disabled daughter and had high utility bills in the winter.
  • not able to work due to illness or surgery.

Jennifer Vaughan, who runs the Potter’s House, continues to meet with the Transition Team for the Housing Resource Center (HRC).  This team consists of the librarian for the oceanfront library, 99 for the One, Star of the Sea Catholic Church, PIN, PATH (Human Services), Homeless Outreach Team, Director of the HRC, Program Director of the HRC, Volunteer Coordinator of the HRC. Together they are trying to address the needs of the homeless at the oceanfront.

Topics they are working on include:

  • Transportation – The city will provide transportation to and from the HRC and the oceanfront.  Times will revolve around jobs and services. Possibly 3 times a day.
  • Meals – At this time, meals will only be provided for those who are staying in the shelter.
  • Services needed – Discussions are around trying not to duplicate services and determining what is needed.
  • Opening date – It now looks like move in for the offices will be in late July/August.  This time frame has changed due to construction.  The shelter will open in the fall.

Seaside School is our Christian Preschool for kids ages 1 through Kindergarten.  Heidi Beauchanie, the Seaside School Director, recently put an all-call out to our congregation for substitute teachers and thankfully Jacob stepped up.

I have a passion for teaching children and it was great to be able to teach them about the Bible and share the love of Jesus with them in a church setting. I am not allowed to talk about my faith in the public sector…it was also exciting to be inducted into the Seaside Hall of Fame by being the first guy teacher!” says Jacob, who has been an amazing help to Seaside.

What you may not know is that Jacob Litzenberg, our A/V Technician, is getting a Master’s Degree in Education. During High School, he was accepted into a program called Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow, a 2 year class/internship developed by Va Beach High Schools for students interested in becoming teachers. At the end of this program, students submit a digital portfolio to the City to review and the School Board votes on one high schooler from each High School enrolled in the program to win a teaching contract when they graduate from college. Jacob was one of the recepients.

Heidi shares, “We feel blessed that he was willing to fill the void that we had in our two year old classroom for the last month and a half of school. When he first started some parents were apprehensive about a man being in the classroom with their kids. As we come to the end of his time on the Seaside staff I have the privilege to say all the students and parents love him. The mother that was the most concerned about having a man in the classroom came to me about two weeks into the month and a half and said that her little boy came home and told her that Mr. Jacob was his favorite and when she asked why he said, ‘because he is cool and makes my School ‘fun-er!’”

Women’s Tea Luncheon

Although Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford and Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria, is often credited with starting the tradition of afternoon tea in the early 1840’s to overcome her “sinking feeling,” the mood of the folks attending the Tea Luncheon that we hosted recently is best described by participants as “uplifting.”

Many women, like Tracy Miller, made it a family affair. A 34-year-member of VBUMC, Tracy sat with her daughter and three granddaughters and described the lunch as a “fine afternoon, one which my granddaughters will always remember.”

A member of United Methodist Women (UMW) since 1981, Gene Rimer attended with her daughter and seven-year-old granddaughter.  She has fond memories of the mother-daughter banquets that the UMW used to host and was elated to be able to use the fine china tea cups “one last time.” No doubt the recent royal wedding between Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle may have had an influence on Gene’s granddaughter who is “already practicing how to hold a tea cup like the Queen.”

Likewise, Tonya Brown participated with her aunt and 11-year-old daughter. In addition to enjoying the tasty lunch, Tonya was happy to be able to “take home a part of the church’s history” since each attendee was encouraged to take home two cups. Tonya’s granddaughter now has six cups, so “she can host her own tea party.”

For Leanne Lowdermilk the tea luncheon was a great time to “hang out with friends without kids.” As the co-leader of a young parents’ life group, she enjoyed being able “to fellowship with the girls from her life group; being able to take home tea cups from the event made the day even more special.”

Tonya Brown summed up the event for all the participants: “Definitely a hit!” 

-Dee Swanson