Saving HistoryEmmet United Methodist Church is in Danger of Collapsing. Its Congregation is Trying to Save the Building and Their Town’s History

Saving History
Emmet United Methodist Church is in Danger of Collapsing. Its Congregation is Trying to Save the Building and Their Town’s History

Members of Emmet UMC. From left to right: Charles Trexler, Steve Halliwill, Dianne Halliwill, John Mohon, and the Rev. Wayne Chambers. || Photo by Caleb Hennington

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

On a long and remote stretch of U.S. Route 67 South, situated at the halfway point between Prescott and Hope, sits the small railroad town of Emmet, Arkansas.

Emmet looks like any other small town in Arkansas: quiet and sleepy, with hints of its former heyday as a railroad junction and agricultural town speckled throughout the community of about 500. The day I came into town, a young man on a camouflaged ATV was driving through his neighborhood, the only moving vehicle anywhere in sight.

Unless you were visiting family or happened to live in the town, no one would blame you for passing through without stopping and exploring.

But just across the railroad tracks, in a quiet area of town, sits a little piece of Methodist history; one that is in serious danger of being lost to time and erosion.

The Emmet United Methodist Church, 209 S. Walnut St., is an odd little church building. The church was first organized in 1855. The building where the church now sits was constructed in either 1917 or 1918, according to documents provided by the National Register of Historic Places, and features design elements that seem out-of-place for a small, Southern church.

Rather than having a gorgeous steeple that reaches high into the sky or intricate castle-like towers that are common among many Methodist church buildings in the Conference, the Emmet church is a one-story square brick building with stark white columns that greet you as you approach the entrance to the sanctuary.

The entrance is affixed to a corner of the building rather than a side, creating an extra wall on the exterior that gives it a pentagonal, rather than a box, shape. It more closely resembles a former county government building or a post office than a church.

According to John Mohon, a member of Emmet, the church’s interior layout is based on the Akron-style church, and the outside of the church resembles the Colonial Revival style. As far as Mohon and the other members of Emmet know, this is the only Akron-style church in the Arkansas Conference. It certainly stands out among churches in the South.

Akron-style churches originated in Akron, Ohio and are identified by the unique layout of the sanctuary. They were popular in the late 19th century into the early 20th century but started fading out of style around World War I. The stage and pulpit are centered in a corner of the building, with curved pews that arch out and to the back of the sanctuary. On either side of the pews are sliding panels that resemble garage doors. These doors were used to expand the seating in the sanctuary if more pews were needed.

Emmet UMC has both the curved pews and the wooden sliding doors, making it a classic example of an Akron-style church.

But as the church enters into a new century, it is beginning to show its age in ways that could seriously damage its future viability.

On the back right corner of the building, the foundation that has supported the church for more than 100 years is beginning to buckle and risks collapsing if repairs aren’t made to it soon.

Dianne Halliwill, a member of Emmet whose family has been attending the church for decades, said the congregants began to realize the church was in need of serious repairs more than a decade ago.

In 2009, a team of people at Emmet worked to get the church listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They were successful in getting the designation that same year, but although being on the Register gives merit to the church’s historical value, it gives no guarantee of grant money for repairs or protection from deterioration. That task has been left up to the members of Emmet.

Years went by before any action was taken to repair the church; people in Emmet didn’t quite know what to do to save it.

In 2018, Charles Trexler, who travels from Magnolia every Sunday to attend church in Emmet, began speaking with the newly appointed pastor of Emmet, the Rev. Wayne Chambers, on a way to secure funding for the repairs.

They had heard that another church in Arkansas on the National Register of Historic Places, Hamburg First United Methodist Church, had written up a proposal and applied for a grant from The Department of Arkansas Heritage to make similar repairs to their church building.

They called up Gary Clements, an architect at Clements & Associates in North Little Rock who had surveyed the Hamburg church, and asked him to come by and survey their church as well. Once the survey was completed, a proposal was written and submitted to the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Chambers said they were one of 44 buildings in Arkansas in 2019 to receive a grant.

The downspout from the roof of the building has also rusted and fallen apart. || Photo by Caleb Hennington

Underneath the church, beams that are more than a century old are beginning to rot due to water and termite damage. || Photo Provided by Charles Trexler

The brick on the backside of the church is beginning to bow out due to damage to the beams supporting the church. || Photo by Caleb Hennington

“I attribute that highly to God because there were many things that could have prevented us from getting this grant,” Chambers said.

Trexler estimates that repairs for the building’s foundation, as well as replacing part of the damaged roof and repointing the original brick masonry, will cost around $200,000.

To date, the church has been able to raise $15,500 through fundraising and donations which was matched by a grant of $31,000 from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, a division of The Department of Arkansas Heritage, bringing the total to around $46,500. But in order to receive grant money from the state of Arkansas, the church has to first raise money.

“Whatever we raise, the state can match that amount twice. But even though we’re on the National Register of Historic Places, we can’t receive any grants unless we raise money,” Chambers said.

Steve Halliwill, Dianne’s husband, said that when spending the grant money, they also have to use it in a way that repairs the building as close as possible to its original design.

“That includes the foundation, brickwork, lights, everything,” Steve said. “We can’t just go buy some lumber and sheetrock and get it fixed on a budget.”

Inside the sanctuary is a stained glass window of Susannah Wesley, mother of Charles and John Wesley. The windows bears a marker that reads “Loving Memory to our brother John P. Boyd. Sister Dollie Boyd Chism.” || Photo by Caleb Hennington

One of the first parts of the building that will be replaced is the foundation. Underneath the church, termites and water damage have eroded many of the beams that support the church’s structure.

After the foundation is fixed, the roof, downspout, and some interior work will need to be repaired, including the fragile stained glass windows on the walls.

The church has an average weekly attendance of eight, 11 on a good Sunday. Even though the faithful members of Emmet are generous with their time and money, there’s only so much they are able to raise on their own.

The good news is that Emmet can reapply for the grant every year, as long as they continue to raise money.

Much of the interior of the church remains intact and showcases the beauty and thought that went into every detail of its design.

Inside the sanctuary, the beautiful stained glass windows tell the story of not only the gospel of Jesus Christ and John Wesley — the founder of Methodism — but also the many families who have loved and raised their families there.

Names like Garland, Boyd, McSwain, and others adorn the bottoms of the stained glass that were created in honor of these families.

There’s also a stained glass image dedicated to Susannah Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley — a unique addition that’s not unheard of but certainly uncommon among Methodist churches.

Inside the sanctuary is a stained glass window of Susannah Wesley, mother of Charles and John Wesley. The windows bears a marker that reads “Loving Memory to our brother John P. Boyd. Sister Dollie Boyd Chism.” || Photo by Caleb Hennington

Most of the windows on the exterior of the church feature uncommon yellow-tinted windows, like the one seen in the picture above. When the sun shines through the windows, it gives it a golden glow, no matter what time of the day it is. || Photo by Caleb Hennington

The brick that was used to build the exterior of the building can even be traced back from current members of the church to past members; Dianne Halliwill’s family, the Boyds, were sharecroppers in the early 1900s. The Boyds harvested and traded their grain to a brick masonry in Hope that needed food for their mules, leading to a partnership that allowed the church to acquire bricks for their church building.

There are deep ties to Emmet UMC that continue to push the Halliwills, Mohon, Trexler, Chambers, and others to preserve their church.

“If we don’t do anything to the church, we know that it will collapse. And then there won’t be a church here anymore,” Dianne said. “And once you lose a church in a small town like this, you lose part of your town as well.”

At this point in their fundraising, the members of Emmet have realized it will be very difficult to raise the money they need on their own.

A tattered and worn guest book greets visitors at the entrance to the church. || Photo by Caleb Hennington

The church’s sliding wooden doors, pictured above, are a unique feature of the Akron-style church. These doors were used to expand the seating in the sanctuary if needed. || Photo by Caleb Hennington

Photo by Caleb Hennington

With so many expenses required to get the building back to the way it was and the small size of the church membership, they are now reaching out to their United Methodist Church family to help them out.

“Whatever anyone could give would be very much appreciated,” Dianne said.

If you would like to make a donation to the church for their building repair fund, you can mail it to Emmet United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 22, Emmet, AR 71835.

For Dianne, Emmet UMC is part of her life story. It’s worth it to save the building in which she grew up and spent countless Sundays in the pews of that unique, Akron-style sanctuary.

“When I’m sitting in the church on a Sunday morning and the light is shining through the stained glass and filling the room, that’s what reminds me that this church is important. Because those names on that stained glass are my family and many other people’s family as well. This church is home to me.”

Feeding the Hungry, Clothing the Naked, and Healing the Sick in Goshen

Feeding the Hungry, Clothing the Naked, and Healing the Sick in Goshen

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

Most people assume that if you want to impact your community in a major way, you’re going to need a large congregation to do it. That way of thinking doesn’t seem to apply to Goshen UMC, a small congregation in the Northwest District that has managed to start a free health clinic, a food pantry, a community garden, and a blessing box to serve their small-town community.

The idea to offer these free services to the Goshen area came about after another initiative took off in the church to feed hungry children.

Becky Neighbors, District Administrator for the Northwest District, was invited by the Rev. John Humphries to come to the church and talk about how they could get involved in 200,000 Reasons, the Arkansas Conference’s initiative to end childhood hunger in the state.

“It was actually Andy Lowry who brought up the idea for a food pantry at one of our church board meetings. He said all we need to do is break down the walls between the people and food,” said Humphries, senior pastor of Goshen UMC. “Because there is plenty of food.”

Lowry has been attending Goshen UMC since 2012 and is currently on the Board of Trustees at Goshen.

“We had a food pantry before but we were having problems figuring out when we needed to keep it open so that people could take from it. We had a lot of food that went bad because of that.

“So we eventually decided to keep it open 24/7. You can come in at any time of the day and get something you need,” Lowry said.

The church began to keep the pantry stocked at all times for the community. They soon noticed that the food was quickly disappearing, which made them realize how needed this service was for their area.

“Pretty soon we got to know the people who were coming by to get food. They would leave us thank you notes and it turned into a really good deal for Goshen,” Humphries said.

One day, Humphries encountered an older woman who was coming by the pantry and taking lots of food back with her; more than she would need for just one person.

“I had no idea why she seemed to be taking so much food. It turns out she was taking food for her three daughters as well as her seven granddaughters that were living with her. She said they were going to bed hungry every night until the church started doing this.”

Humphries brought up this story to the Goshen congregation, which sparked inspiration in the congregants to start another initiative gathering socks, underwear and other clothing necessities — as well as feminine hygiene products — to provide to the community.

“I know the Bible is clear on feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. So I thought if we can start healing the sick, well then I’m going to retire again!” Humphries jokingly said.

What must have seemed like a lighthearted comment at the time quickly became a reality when Russell Stroud, a nurse practitioner who attends Goshen UMC, came up to Humphries after a meeting and offered to check patients for free.

“He had been looking for a way to offer a free health clinic for people in Goshen. And I said well, alright, let’s start healing the sick.”

On the second Tuesday of each month, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Goshen UMC holds a free health clinic for anyone that needs to come in and get checked out by Stroud.

The church doesn’t advertise the health clinic — they simply display a sign on the front lawn of the church that says “Free health clinic” on Tuesdays — yet the response so far has been amazing.

“This is a little church but it’s a very loving church. Everybody wants to help.”

Judi Sartwell

Chair of the Staff Parish Relations Committee

“We’ve had people tell us, tell Russell, that he is an angel sent from God because of this health clinic and the work that he is doing for this community,” Humphries said.

Judi Sartwell, chair of the Staff Parish Relations Committee at Goshen, got involved with the free health clinic because of her experience as a nurse for almost 30 years.

Sartwell helps with patient admission history, physical exams, and vital sign readings before the patients see Stroud.

She said that a common problem with people who have low or no income is that they don’t have insurance and are afraid of visiting a health clinic and being rejected. The purpose of the clinic is to give them the help they need at no cost.

Stroud can even write prescriptions for patients or refer them to an emergency room if they are having a serious health issue.

“We just started last month, but I have a feeling that when the word gets out, this is going to grow by leaps and bounds,” Sartwell said.

Humphries said the reason the church has been able to provide so many free services is that they didn’t go into any of these projects worrying about how they would pay for it all.

He said they have a few fundraising events throughout the year, such as an annual crawfish boil, that help pay for some of the expenses, but most of the funding for these projects comes from the generosity of people in the church.

Lowry said they are able to accomplish so much because they have a congregation that is eager to get involved in anything they can.

“We have a lot of natural leaders and self-starters in our church. They are people that see a need and then take care of it,” Lowry said. “It’s not just a place where you come a few Sundays a month and then leave and aren’t heard from again; well over half the church is involved in some sort of volunteer or mission work.”

Stroud, who has a fulltime job as a nurse practitioner in Northwest Arkansas, donates his time to the free health clinic; Humphries said the church doesn’t pay him anything to run the clinic.

“He said that’s his time to give back. He doesn’t want anything in return.”

That’s also the way Humphries looks at these ministries; it’s not about getting something in return — like increasing the number of people you have in the pews on Sunday mornings — it’s about serving your community in any way you can.

“We are trying to become an active part of our community. And I think that, in itself, will bring more people to Christ.”

Sartwell said she’s constantly amazed at the willingness of her church to get involved and help their community.

“If we have 50 people on Sunday morning, that’s a good Sunday for us. This is a little church but it’s a very loving church. Everybody wants to help,” Sartwell said.

For Humphries, the size of the church isn’t a barrier to accomplishing big things. He said all you need is people who are willing to start somewhere.

“Start small and start with what you can actually do. Start with a food pantry and if that works out, see what else you can do. We didn’t say we were giving out free medical care every day forever. We said we’d start with one day a week. But you know we’re still going to help somebody in a big way that one day,” Humphries said.

A Month Full of Youth Events

This month, youth groups from across the Conference at home and abroad for amazing weeks full of fun, worship and growing in faith. Youth 2019 was July 10 – 14 in Kansas City, Missouri and the theme this year was Love Well. Groups of teens from the Central District gathered together for this annual UMC youth event. Junior and Senior High Assembly took place July 22- 24 and July 24 – 27. Pictures from both events can be found below and on the ACCYM Facebook Page.

Youth 2019: Love Well

Conway FUMC

Jacksonville FUMC

Kinsey Boone, Lydia Schallenberg and Phoebe Sanders voting on SCJC youth observers

Phoebe Sanders, elected as a 2020 SCJC youth observer

ACCYM Junior and Senior High Assembly

Danny Shivers, Junior High Assembly Speaker

Junior High Assembly Game Time

Junior High Assembly Games

Mark Davies, Senior High Assembly Speaker

Senior High Assembly Worship

Senior High Assembly Worship

Whitlee Casey, Worship Leader

It Doesn’t Take A Village to Help A Village

It Doesn’t Take A Village to Help A Village

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

This past month, I’ve had the privilege of hearing the stories of small churches doing big things.

In Emmet, Arkansas — a tiny community between Hope and Prescott — a small congregation at the Emmet United Methodist Church seeks to save their historic church building from collapsing under the weight of severe structural damage.

The congregation — made up of no more than 10 people on any given Sunday — needs hundreds of thousands of dollars to save their church, but they’ve already raised a quarter of what’s needed in less than a year. They are a dedicated group of faithful Methodists who are seeking to save a church that means so much to so many people.

East of Fayetteville, in rural Goshen, Arkansas, the Goshen United Methodist Church is serving their community in ways that even our largest Methodist churches have struggled to do.
With fewer than 50 regular attendees, the church has managed to open a 24/7 food pantry, a blessing box, a community garden, and a free health clinic. And they are still searching for more ways to give their time, energy and commodities to their community.

In the Bible, we see countless examples of God using individuals or a small group of people to carry out monumental, sometimes impossible, tasks.
Think about Joseph, David, Esther, and Jesus; what do these people have in common? They were seemingly ordinary people who God used in order to accomplish huge, life-changing, history-altering things.

In the Arkansas Conference, we have a lot of small, rural churches. These churches should not be forgotten in favor of churches with more people, more money, popular clergy, or more youth.

Our churches with 50 people can accomplish just as many amazing, outstanding things for the Lord as our churches with 500 people.

So when you’re reading the stories this month from Goshen and Emmet, and stories from our larger churches like Central Rogers and First Bentonville, remember that every one of them, no matter the size, can do big things.

It doesn’t take a village to help a village.

Arkansas United Methodists Gear up for the New School YearHere are all of the School Supply Drives and Back to School Bashes Across the Conference

Arkansas United Methodists Gear up for the New School Year
Here are all of the School Supply Drives and Back to School Bashes Across the Conference

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

United Methodists of Arkansas are always generous with their time and money, and this year is no different. With the new school year fast approaching, many United Methodist Churches across the Conference are setting up school supply donation drives and back to school bashes to make sure every child, no matter where they are from or their income level, can have the best school year ever.

Check out some of our Arkansas churches that are hosting school supply drives or fun back to school events below. If your church is hosting a similar event, please contact Caleb Hennington at caleb.hennington@arumc.org or Amy Ezell at amy.ezell@arumc.org to let us know!

Alpena UMC

  • Blessing of the Backpacks on Aug. 11. Backpacks are placed on the altar and prayer cards are attached to them. Prayers are read for school safety and security for teachers, faculty, staff, students.
  • Gathering supplies for teachers and classrooms.
    is across the street from the school. On Aug. 13, the first day of school, volunteers line the street at 6:30 a.m. and hold signs with good wishes on them and wave at cars, busses, and walkers.

Benton FUMC

  • A small group is sponsoring foster children through the Saline County CALL. Providing school supplies, new clothing and shoes. They will have a blessing of backpacks during worship service.
  • Ralphe Bunch Community Back to School Picnic, 3 – 6 p.m. on Aug. 3 at First UMC Benton. Provides school supplies to low-income families and 900 packages of notebook paper.
  • Samaritan’s Feet, an international organization that provides shoes to those in need, will also be there. After the picnic, students are invited to the church to receive new pairs of shoes. Volunteers will visit with students and family, and pray about the upcoming school year. Will also wash children’s feet as they tell them about Jesus.

Bismarck UMC

  • Partner with the First Baptist Church of Bismarck by providing weekly backpacks to the school, during its session.
  • The food is purchased, by both women’s groups, and backpacks are filled and taken to the Bismarck school.
  • During the summer months, both groups provide a feeding program for the names that have been provided by the school system to see that families have something to feed their children.
  • The group also works with a community food pantry in seeing that anyone needing food has that opportunity.
  • Referrals are made to the food pantry through the churches and all that is required is proof that they are a resident of Hot Spring County. Working with another denomination gives each small church more power to do greater things in this rural community.

Cabot UMC

  • Back to School Fair, Aug. 3 at Cabot United Methodist Church.
  • This will be 8th year of working with the community to provide for approximately 300 local children each year.
  • School counselors send sign up forms home with students and parents return them with shoe sizes. Once we get their shoe sizes, we have church members shop for a brand new pair of tennis shoes for each child.
  • In addition, each child gets a backpack filled with supplies for their grade level. We have gently used clothing rooms where families can select clothing to help with back to school. In addition, we have our local head lice clinic doing free checks and treatment, and local hair stylists set up for free haircuts. For more info, contact 501-259-5669 or Jana.foster@cps.k12.ar.us.

Central-Lincoln

  • Back to School Bonanza from 4-6 on Aug. 1 at the Lincoln Elementary School cafeteria.

Charleston UMC

  • Back to School Bash. Free food, bounce house, water slide, volleyball, and door prizes.
  • Free school supplies for Charleston, Lavaca, and County Line schools.
  • From 4-6 p.m. on July 28 at First UMC Charleston.

Christ UMC – Texarkana

  • Christ UMC raised a record $8,000 last year for backpack ministry through Harvest Texarkana. Christ Church also gathers school supplies and has a “blessing of the backpacks” time.

Cleveland UMC

  • Sending new backpacks, school supplies, and snacks to Wonderview Schools. This year we have added Nemo Vista Schools to our list of recipients as well.

Concord UMC

  • Participating in a school supply drive for Lonoke area schools.
  • Buckets have been placed at the end of church pews that are being filled with: paper, notebooks, glue sticks, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, kleenex, etc.
  • They are also taking monetary donations for gift cards for teachers and counselors to assist with needs throughout the year.

Dardanelle First UMC

  • Backpack program to provide take-home food items needed to supplement children.
  • Goes on throughout the school year and the summer.
  • Sock-it-to-me Sundays. Collect socks, underwear, coats, etc. for distribution to schools.

Elm Springs UMC

  • Drive-Thru Prayer for all friends and neighbors dropping off kids on the first day of school in the morning.
  • Participants will pull up under the entrance to the church’s worship center. Volunteers will pass out drinks and offer a short prayer.

Emerson UMC

  • Emerson UMC gives a Walmart gift card ($200) to the principal of the elementary school so they can help with personal hygiene items, clean underwear, socks, etc. The church also participates in an ecumenical prayer walk on school grounds the Sunday evening before school starts on Monday.

Farmington UMC

  • Back to School Bonanza from 4:30 – 7 p.m. on Aug. 1. Volunteers from Farmington UMC, school groups, Boy Scouts, and other denominations in the area offer washing of feet, free shoes, prayer support and communion, backpacks/school supplies, socks, underwear, Kindergarten health physicals, dental screenings, and haircuts. Each family will also leave with a free pizza for supper.

Fort Smith First UMC

  • School Supply Drive for partner schools: Darby, Tilles, Northside and Belle Point.

Greenwood UMC

  • Back to School Bash from 1 – 3 p.m. on Aug. 4. at the church.
  • Partnering with Samaritans Feet and providing 150 children with new shoes and socks for the school year.
  • Providing new backpacks with hygiene kits and school supplies. Food Bank will also be open that day to help families if necessary.
  • Free food, entertainment, bouncy houses, pony rides, face painting, and a live band. City services (police, fire department, EMS, and mayor) will be there with their vehicles to interact and educate children.

Harmony Grove UMC

  • Supply donations are taken for children and also help with feeding local school children.

Hays Chapel UMC

  • School supply drive to benefit the students at Westside school in Clarksville.

Hazen FUMC

  • From 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Aug. 10 at the Hazen Community Center.
  • City-wide school supply fair. Free school supplies for kids attending Hazen Schools.

Highland Valley UMC

  • Highland Valley provides a food pantry and backpack program for nearby Chenal and Watson Elementary Schools.
  • The backpacks are filled with donated, non-perishable items and are picked up by representatives from the schools to take to children.
  • The church also has a school uniform drive each year, which provides new uniforms for approximately 650 students.

Holly Springs UMC

  • Holly Springs provides financial support for Lakeside and Harmony Grove school drive missions.

Kibler UMC

  • Back to School “Share Fair,” 9 a.m. Aug. 3 at Kibler UMC.
  • Passing out school supplies, eating breakfast, and playing games. Kids will receive a backpack full of supplies they need.

Lakeside UMC

  • Lakeside UMC is doing an outreach to local children.

Little Rock First UMC

  • Little Rock First will have a School Supplies Packing Party from 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. on Aug. 11 at the church.
  • They are partnering with Booker and Washington Elementary Schools to prepare 500 back to school backpacks, filled with crayons, pencils, folders, paper and more.
  • More donations are needed and the church needs help on Aug. 11 to pack the bags.

Lockesburg UMC

  • Lockesburg is having their 8th or 9th annual “Back-to-School Give Away,” Sat. July 27th, 8-noon. Free backpacks, with school supplies… along with a host of good used clothing, toys, books, household items, and etc. Everything is free. The fellowship hall will be filled. We even give bags so people will fill them and take it home. We’ve had TV’s, microwaves, nice china, and even some furniture that found new homes.

Maumelle First UMC

  • Maumelle First UMC does a backpack program for local schools every year.

New Hope UMC

  • School supplies were gathered and donated to nearby Tate Elementary School in Van Buren.

Norman UMC

  • Norman will be doing a backpack/school supply drive late this month or early next month.

Oakley Chapel UMC

  • Back to School Bash, 10 a.m – 2 p.m. on July 27 at the church.
  • Giving away backpacks with school supplies, offering free haircuts, games, lunch, dental and medical check-ups.

Sardis UMC

  • Sardis is hosting a Dare to Share back-to-school event from 1 – 5 p.m. on Aug. 4 at their Family Life Center.
  • There will be free school supplies, backpacks, hygiene kits, new and gently used clothes and shoes, haircuts, and hot dogs and hamburgers provided by Everett Buick GMC.

Siloam Springs First UMC

  • School Supply Shopping Spree on Aug. 3.
  • Families who would like assistance can fill out an application, and then church members who are “Shopping Buddies” will go with them to Walmart to shop for needed school supplies.
  • Kids get to pick out their own backpacks, pencils, etc.

St. Paul – Fort Smith

  • St. Paul UMC in Fort Smith is having a Back-to-School Carnival, 10 a.m. on July 27. They will be giving out school supplies and will have food and games for the children. At the same time, St. Paul will be distributing diapers, wipes and ointment through their Diaper Dandies program.

St. Paul – Little Rock

  • St. Paul collected school supplies during VBS for children at Jefferson Elementary School in Cammack Village.
  • Donations will continue to be collected through Aug. 11. The donations, backpacks, and everyone at the school will be lifted up in prayer for the new school year.

Sylvan Hills UMC

  • Back to School Wellness Clinic. 4 – 7 p.m, Aug. 1 at Sylvan Hills UMC.
  • Free haircuts, doctors physicals, immunizations, supplies, uniforms, shoes, dinner, books, etc.

Vilonia UMC

  • Vilonia UMC is having their 4th annual Back to School Bash and Community Picnic, 3 – 6 p.m. on Aug. 4 at the church.
  • Giving out free school supplies and haircuts (by appointment).
  • There will be games, a giant slip and slide, free food, and live bluegrass music from the band Rough and Ready.
  • A love offering will be taken to benefit the food pantry the church supports called Spirit of Vilonia.

Wickes UMC

  • Wickes UMC buys all the school supplies for an entire grade at Wickes Elementary. They also find other churches in the area to sponsor the other grades, so families only need to purchase their child’s backpack.