‘This Old Church’ offering help, seeking more teams

This Old Church trailer lightedThe Volunteers In Mission (VIM) team from Northwest District that focuses on This Old Church projects has maintained a busy schedule in the past year.

This Old Church, begun by former Conference VIM coordinator Don Weeks, runs on a churches-helping-churches model. Congregations that need labor for building improvements and upkeep may request a team through current VIM coordinator Byron Mann.

The Northwest District team, led by Charlie Gilmore, is based out of Greenwood UMC. To date, they have logged a total of 760 volunteer hours completing 17 This Old Church projects, with five more scheduled in the near future. The congregation and team members themselves have covered expenses for the more than 3,000 miles of travel they have logged, and the local church with the need for a work team funds the project for which it has requested help.

Using one of the Arkansas Conference Disaster Response trailers, the team transports tools and materials to the churches and gets to work. They have added some tools to the trailer to increase efficiency.

Types of work done on church facilities include:

  • repairing and replacing windows and doors
  • updating trim and molding
  • removing and replacing wood due to rot or mildew
  • replacing carpet
  • refinishing wood floors
  • reworking and repairing pews
  • some light foundation repair
  • removing and replacing lights and switches
  • updating entrances to improve accessibility for those with disabilities.

This team has also done some repairs and remodeling work at Shoal Creek Camp, the Arkansas Conference Camping Ministries site in the Northwest District. And, true to the purpose of VIM, it continues to work on local home repair projects, as well as building wheelchair ramps for local residents in the Greenwood area.

Another team, based out of Piney Grove UMC Hot Springs and led by David Stewart, is becoming more active and has collaborated with the Northwest District team on a project for Spadra UMC. With some help from team members from other Hot Springs churches, the Piney Grove team has worked on DeAnn UMC in Hempstead County outside of Hope.

This Old Church welcomes the formation of other teams across the state. If you are interested in joining one of the existing teams or possibly forming a new one, contact Byron Mann (vim@arumc.org or 870-826-0268) or Charlie Gilmore (mommagm@aol.com or 479-252-8261). Assistance has been requested by churches throughout the Arkansas Conference, so a job may already be available near you. Pastors or leaders of United Methodist congregations needing the help of a This Old Church Team may contact Mann or Gilmore, as well.