Oak Grove UMC Delivers Easter Joy


Like so many churches, Oak Grove UMC in Ellenboro has two beloved mission projects they participate in year after year. For Oak Grove, these include a Blessing Box outside the church and a yearly Christmas mission trip to deliver presents, toys, food, and supplies to families in need.
In 2021, however, the congregation had the opportunity to expand their ministry outreach to include a feeding ministry for families who are living in a local motel. The church collects food that can easily be prepared in a motel room with limited appliances. Volunteers box up the food and drop it at local motels in the area. On a normal food drop, the church distributes around 30 boxes of food.

"This food is such a blessing," one of the elderly motel residents says. "I was out of food completely. This sure is a blessing to me."

Around mid-February, the church was informed that one of the motels had several families who were struggling to make ends meet. These families included a total of 40 children. After delivering food to this particular motel several weeks in a row, LouAnne and Jerry Matheson were inspired to bring joy to the children in a special way. 

For three weeks prior to Easter, they asked the congregation to donate toys and treats to fill 40 Easter baskets for each of the children at the motel. The church response was overwhelming! The basket fillers came pouring in - stuffed animals, coloring books, pencils, crayons, candy, snacks, eggs, and more!

Early in the morning of April 3rd, the Oak Grove Outreach Ministry filled each of the Easter baskets and loaded them up to deliver with the regular food drop. 
"I want to make sure they know how much we all appreciate [the members of Oak Grove UMC] and I want them to know how thrilled the kids were," said the manager of the motel. "They were so happy with the baskets! One girl said, 'This is the first time I have had an Easter basket. It has candy and everything!' The little girl was so happy. All of the kids were happy and proud to have their own basket for the Easter egg hunt." 

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

Design Thinking

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

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


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 hfleming@wnccumc.net.


  • Resources
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