Praying Without Ceasing
[caption id="attachment_2082" align="alignright" width="240"]
Haywood Respite’s Program Manager Jody Halstead talks with a potential volunteer at the Blue Ridge District UMW Prayer Breakfast.[/caption]
by Emily Cooper
Jody Halstead’s prayer life has included everything from a child’s bedtime rituals to God laughing at her.
Halstead, an RN, deaconess and program manager of Haywood Street Congregation’s Respite Center, told about 200 United Methodist Women at Mills River UMC Saturday prayer can be risky, life-changing.
Her prayer life has evolved from the time she was a “cradle Methodist.” The daughter of a UM pastor said prayer can become ego-centric – “please help me.”
Two years ago, Halstead worshipped at Haywood and its leadership was talking about how it might offer more service. The group considered respite care for the homeless. Halstead was going to a prayer retreat and a Haywood leader said, “Jody, pray about respite.” As she walked in prayer for Haywood at the retreat, “God was laughing at me.” “I already told you …” was his response.
Suddenly she saw how her experiences and studies all tied together – studies to become a deaconess, her time at the Academy for Missional Wisdom, her gerontological certification and work as a faith community nurse. She saw people leaving the hospital with no place to recover as God’s desire for her.
Follow-up medical appointments are almost non-existent without a place such as Haywood Street Respite. People who have to live on the street have their energy eaten by efforts to find a place to sleep and something to eat, Halstead said.
Since opening in January 2014, Haywood Street Respite has provided a place to sleep, eat and recover among a caring family. Of the 95 homeless released to Haywood’s care last year, 75 percent were able to live somewhere other than on the streets after their Respite stay. “God is calling us to be church this way in this time,” she said.
“As we pray, we need to be as expectant as expectant parents,” Halstead said. “Prayer is a posture, but it’s not physical. It is a constant awareness, a willingness to be available. We need to listen as if we expect to hear from God. Then we begin to live our whole life as a prayer, praying without ceasing.”
Respite calls on volunteers to drive people to medical appointments, to bring meals on weekends and to spend time with patients. Halstead can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
UMW President Joanie Strom led the program. Lucy Earls said UMW social concerns include the high rate of human trafficking in North Carolina. Beverly Hill announced a district UMW civil rights study tour to Alabama and Mississippi in October.
District Superintendent, Dr. John Boggs told UMW district leaders and members about a development for the Congregations 4 Children program: the Department of Public Instruction Summer Food Program is eager to have meals that are prepared in school cafeterias delivered by church groups to children in need.
Emily Cooper is a member at Central UMC in Asheville and is the former editor of the South Carolina Christian Advocate
Resources for Vital Congregations
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor
GBHEM Leadership Resources
Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church
Englewood Book Review
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
Ted Talks: The Golden Circle
Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability
Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability
Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians
Be A Disciple
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network
Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations
Living As United Methodist Christians
Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials
Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today
John Wesley Sermons: Anthology
Get Their Name
Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit
Canoeing the Mountains
Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People
Community: The Structure of Belonging
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
Institute for Emerging Issues
Congregations 4 Children
The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants
The Duke Endowment
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at email@example.com.