FUMC Bella Vista to host The Caring Congregation Seminar

First United Methodist Church of Bella Vista will be hosting The Caring Congregation Seminar from Friday, August 27 at noon through Saturday, August 28 at 4:30pm. Learn how to create a laity team that works in partnership with pastors to provide congregational care ministry in the church family and community. This is an in-person event that will be hosted at First UMC in Bella Vista (20 Boyce Drive, Bella Vista, AR 72715). The cost of $75 minimally covers textbooks, ministry tools, and food. This plus any travel or lodging are your only expenses. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event is limited to 50 participants. You can learn more and register at fumcbellavista.com/ccmseminar or thecaringcongregation.com or contact Rev. Brenda Wideman at brenda@fumcbellavista.com.

Davidson Campground To Hold 137th Annual Encampment

Davidson Campground will hold its 137th annual encampment starting July 23, 2021, through August 1, 2021. Services will be held daily at 7:45 pm. The dress is casual. An opening prayer service will be on Thursday, July 22, 2021, at 8:00 pm by Rev. Travis Langley. The Memorial Service and closing service will be held Sunday, August 1, 2021, at 11:00 am by Rev. Travis Langley also.

The pastor for this year’s encampment will be the Rev. Charlie Williams, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Murfreesboro.

Children and youth activities are planned daily. A youth service for children ages 6th through 12th grade will also be held daily after each evening service.

The campground is located 12 miles west of Arkadelphia off of Arkansas Highway 26.

To reserve an RV site or for cabin information feel free to contact Blake Batson at 870-246-9844.

Centershot Ministries Teaches Biblical Truths Through Bows and Arrows

Centershot Ministries Teaches Biblical Truths Through Bows and Arrows

life bow

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

Archery is an ancient art that can be found referenced throughout the Bible. Many of the most famous heroes of the Old Testament — like Jonathon, King Saul’s son and friend of David — were archers, as it was a common tool for hunting and war in the ancient world. Years later, the practice of archery is still being taught to new generations through the fun and engaging programs offered by Centershot Ministries.

Since the early 2010s, St. James UMC in Little Rock has hosted its Centershot Archery ministry for kids and adults of all ages who are interested in getting involved in the world of archery.

Kim Anderson, Executive Director of Ministries at St. James UMC, said the program got its start after a man named Jim Emery joined the church in 2012.

“The very day he and his family joined, he asked to meet with me regarding a possible new ministry,” Anderson said. “Jim introduced me and St. James to Centershot Archery. He had run a program at his previous church and asked if St. James would consider such a ministry.”

Anderson said within a few weeks, the church had approved Emery’s proposal, and new equipment was purchased to get the program going.

Centershot Ministries is the main organization that helps to provide the curriculum and training for churches that want to start an archery program at their church.

According to their website, they are a “non-denominational outreach program that shares the Gospel of Jesus using the life-skill of archery.”

Darren Corbin is the current head archery coach for Centershot at St. James. He said he took over the program recently after the last coach left.

“My son joined the program several years back since his archery coach was the person in charge of the program. Two years ago, the person in charge moved out of state and I felt called to continue this program at St. James,” Corbin said.

Last year was tough for the program due to the coronavirus pandemic, said Corbin, but he said they were still able to have about six students participate. Corbin said being able to have the program available was huge for the students and gave them something to look forward to every week.

But it’s not just students that can participate in Centershot. Corbin said the program allows a wide variety of ages — from 4th grade through age 97 — to participate, but people usually fall into certain leagues based on their age.

Centershot Life League is basically the all-ages group and is designed for youth, college, families, couples, men, women, and seniors. Centershot Compete is their competitive league for 4th – 12th grade and offers an opportunity to travel and compete in local, state, and national tournaments. There’s also Centershot Blue which offers law enforcement and first responders a tool for Community Engagement and Officer Wellness.

“School Resource Officers and P.O.S.T Teams can use these leagues and fun shoots to develop trust around positive engagement,” Corbin said.

One of the ways that Centershot Ministries teaches not only archery skills but valuable Biblical lessons is through the LIFE Bow.

The LIFE Bow is a special bow colored-code bow that tells the story of sin and salvation through Jesus Christ; black represents sin, red represents Jesus, white represents purity, blue represents water baptism, green represents growing in faith, the multi-colored string of the bow represents the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, and gold represents the streets of Heaven.

Anderson said the ministry of Centershot fits into the mission at St. James exceptionally well.

“St. James’ mission is To Know Jesus Christ and To Make Him Known,” Anderson said. “Through the Centershot Bible Studies, devotionals, and LIFE Bow, students and their families come to know Jesus Christ. This also gives them the tools to share their faith, thus making Jesus Christ known. This is truly a community outreach program as 100% of participants are not members of St. James.”

Centershot and St. James are currently gearing up for an archery clinic to be held on July 31 at St. James UMC. The event will consist of three separate clinics for different age groups and skill levels.

The first will be an Exploring Archery Clinic from 9:30 – 11:45 a.m. This is for kids entering 6th grade through adults of all ages and is centered toward anyone who would like to know more about archery or is interested in giving archery a try.

The Basic Archery Clinic will be from 1 – 3:30 p.m. and is designed for students in the 6th – 12th grades that have some experience with archery but are wanting to improve their skills.

Finally, the Anyone Can Shoot Clinic will start at 3:30 p.m. and will be hosted by Centershot Coach Darren Corbin. Corbin will be available to answer any questions you may have about starting a Centershot Ministry at your own church.

The cost for the clinic is $5 per person for the Basic or Exploring clinics. The Anyone Can Shoot clinic is free but is limited to 25 participants. Registration for all clinics is required and can be found here.

Corbin said he hopes that more churches in Arkansas will get interested in Centershot after attending the clinic. St. James UMC is currently the only church to offer a Centershot program in Arkansas, according to Corbin.

Anderson said she wants the clinic will build more interest in the program as well and hopes to see more people participate once it’s safe to do so.

“Corbin is really striving to provide a good balance between faith and archery. As more people learn about Centershot, it is our prayer that more individuals and churches will participate in the program. We are happy to share our resources and knowledge with anyone interested.”

For more information about Centershot Ministries, visit https://centershot.org/ or contact Darren Corbin at anyonecanshootarchery@gmail.com.

Salem Camp Meeting Continues Tradition

Salem Camp Meeting is a yearly event that gives everyone the chance to gather under the arbor, visit with neighbors, sing the good old songs, listen to great music and preaching, and shout “Amen”.  In other words, it’s a place to revive your spirit.

Services have been held at Salem Campground (located at Salem United Methodist Church) almost every year since 1836.  Two events have kept it from being continuous, the Civil War and the Covid Pandemic (2020).  In the old days, the campground was covered with primitive cabins called tents where people who lived too far away to go back and forth every night would set up camp and only go home occasionally to see after farm animals.  Eventually the camping stopped because everyone owned an automobile and could travel back and forth easily.  We still call it the Salem Campground but it’s no longer used for camping.

Originally the services lasted for ten days or more with sermons preached throughout each day.  During the time that I attended as a child, I remember we met in the morning and evening of each day and three times on Sundays!  As a teenager, I remember sitting around a campfire one year at night after services and Rev. George Wayne Martin played his guitar and we all sang.  Mostly they were fun songs like “There’s A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea” but we ended with a song like “Amazing Grace”.

Salem Camp Meeting this year is on August 1-5 starting at 6:30 each night.  The service will consist of congregational singing, special music, and preaching.  Kathleen Dockery will be our pianist and Randy Mason will be our song leader each night.  This year we have the following five preachers scheduled:

Date Preacher Home Church
Sun Aug 1 Rev. Mark Norman Highland Valley UMC, Little Rock
Mon Aug 2 Rev. Todd-Paul Taulbee First UMC, Sheridan
Tues Aug 3 Rev. Hammett Evans Asbury UMC, Little Rock
Wed Aug 4 Rev. Natasha Murray-Norman St. James UMC, Pine Bluff
Thurs Aug 5 Rev. Roy Smith Trinity UMC, Little Rock

Our mission project this year is twofold.  We are asking everyone to bring new or gently used children’s books to be donated to Salem Elementary students.  We will also have a lemonade stand one night to provide funds for The Call.

We hope you will come and enjoy camp meeting with us this year!  There will be free popsicles and water available.  And at least one night there will be free ice cream!

Understanding Our Diversity Leads to Changed Lives

Understanding Our Diversity Leads to Changed Lives


Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

By Rev. Rashim Merriwether Sr.

Special Assistant to the Bishop on Ethnic Concerns and Initiatives

“If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see” – James Baldwin

When James Baldwin penned these words, he did so confessing the true love he had for his country, his city, and all people. But he also knew that there were some unspoken realities regarding racism, social justice, cultural intelligence, and the divisive undercurrents which were not common to the naked eye. They were covered by systems, structures, unwritten laws, and isolating ideologies based on fear, stereotypes, biases, and a lack of connection between all God’s people. 

Wherever, and whenever, there is a lack of connection, the possibility of loss, division and inequality are inevitable.  Understanding one’s identity, position, gifts, hopes, fears, and desires are not only important but become the beginning to understanding the same life processes in others. If we are ever to achieve the most, or the best, that this life can offer, we must embrace our identity, our history, our reality, and the need to address those things which can hinder that chance for success. 

We are not here alone, nor have we made it this far on our own accord. It is only through the gifts, sacrifices, and struggles of all people that we have been able to experience the possibility of what life has to offer. And once we accept that history, that reality in its un-redacted purest form, we can begin to see the processes, struggles, fears, and hopes of others. 

We are not here alone, nor can we endure this journey by ourselves. It is only in seeing the value, diversity, and importance of all people can we ever hope to overcome the destructive nature of racism and all its variations. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to each other, and to God to embrace the gift of life which has been given to us and see those things which are not plainly seen by the naked eye. Understand them for the truth of what they are and how they have hindered our growth into the fullness of what God has called us to be. 

It is with this understanding I listen, discern, and serve…