‘North of Dover’ kicks off new video series

 By Martha Taylor and Amy Forbus

The Arkansas Conference Center for Technology (CFT) has released the first in a series of video stories about vital congregations and Spirit-filled ministries within the Arkansas Conference.

The first video, “North of Dover,” explores Dover United Methodist Church’s outreach to families living just north of the church building. With a willingness to learn about its neighbors and their needs, this small church in the Northwest District is having a big impact on its rural community.

What started as a simple summer food ministry caught fire with the people of the church and has created a stronger connection to their mission field. As church member Janice Jones states in the video, “When you meet a need that is so basic, it just changes them and it changes you. So there was just a new level of relationship that was forged.”

Dover UMC’s pastor, the Rev. Roy Beth Kelley, agrees.

“I used to think that if we just gave money for a food pantry or gave food or took people food, that was what we were called to do as Christians, as followers of Christ,” she said in the video. “But this summer I realized that is not at all what we are called to do. We are called to love people, to love everyone and to let everyone know that Jesus loves them, too.”

The Center for Technology will release video stories each month of the series, covering a number of different ministries and themes. Local churches are encouraged to share the videos in worship or small groups. The videos may be downloaded from the Conference’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/arkansasumc. For those who may have connection speeds that prevent large downloads, DVDs will be mailed to local churches upon request. To order a DVD, call 501-324-8036 or email communications@arumc.org.

“We have wanted to produce this series of stories for a long time,” said Mark Epperson, CFT director. “One of the many functions of the Center is to better tell the story of the UMC in Arkansas, and how it is transforming lives and communities. Using technology to do this helps to spread the word to a wider audience, to show just how big of an impact our local churches are making in their mission fields across the state.”

For “North of Dover,” the CFT partnered with documentary filmmaker and retired United Methodist pastor the Rev. Bob Hager of Tiny Seed Films. Hager’s 2013 film “Black Marks on White Paper” chronicled the story of retired United Methodist Bishop Bennie D. Warner, and his dream of building a school in his home country of Liberia. It premiered at the Ozark Foothills Film Festival and later aired on the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN).

Epperson hopes that as the video series grows and the installments are shared in local churches, they will show how United Methodists of Arkansas are taking hold of the Bishop’s Mission Plan and making it their own.

“It will be exciting to watch this series show how we are changing lives and communities in so many ways,” he said.

The CFT team is currently reviewing story ideas and would love to receive more. To share a story, call 501-324-8035 or email communications@arumc.org. Not all stories will be selected for the video series, but may be shared in other forms through the Arkansas United Methodist or through social media.