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Michigan churches support education

Hillman UMC holds Back to School Bash

 As teachers and young people head back to the classroom, churches provide school supplies and lots of love and care.

was the theme of 11 TOM Talks shared at the 2018 Michigan Annual Conference. One key area of engagement is partnerships with schools, students and teachers. Leaders of programs supporting education encouraged other congregations across the state to do the same.

As school starts this fall, local churches around the state are indeed engaging. Here are reports from two congregations.

Pastor Lisa Kelley and Chelsey Safford, Hillman United Methodist Church report …

Hillman UMC provides back to school haircuts
Back to school with a fresh haircut. Local hairdressers lend their services to the Back to School Bash hosted by Hillman UMC. ~ photo courtesy Hillman UMC

On August 19th the Hillman United Methodist Church held its 6th Annual Back to School Bash. Hillman UMC is located in the Northern Waters District west of Alpena. Summer worship attendance averages 60 and those 60 people take their outreach to the community very seriously. Our vision statement begins, “Be the place that brightens the community by building relationships.” So if you ask our members about our top goal for Back to School Bash, they will tell you we do this so we can make relationships. Giving needed supplies away, while important, is second.

This year we were blessed to give away school items to approximately 125 kids, pre-school to high school. Twenty-eight kids got haircuts for the first day of school. We shared a dinner with the kids and their families, cooking and serving nearly 240 hot dogs and dozens of home-made cookies.

A teacher receives a beanbag for her classroom.
One Ross Park teacher asked for a beanbag for her classroom. It was made for her by two creative members of Lake Harbor UMC. ~ photo courtesy Lake Harbor UMC

In addition, kids got their face painted and had their vision screened by the local Lions Club. The local fire department brought a truck and we filled our yard with games for the kids to play.

While their kiddos had fun, parents had the opportunity to learn about drug prevention and how to talk to their kids about tough topics thanks to partnering with UP North Prevention with Catholic Family Services. We partner with other service providing groups to really make this about more than just school supplies. Parents these days need all kinds of information in an ever-changing world.

The congregation provided 30+ volunteers. The church works closely with the schools, granting organizations and business partners like Meijer Inc. to put on this event. Local hair dressers, face painters and more volunteer their time.

Back to School Bash not only fills an important need but we use it as a starting point to get people to begin a relationship with us and therefore with Jesus. The event is surrounded with prayer every step of the way and we have watched God change lives, both inside and outside the church, through this event. We call it our two hours of wonderful chaos, but those two hours, when we keep our focus on what is really important, can and will change lives forever. 

 Pastor Mary Ivanov, Muskegon: Lake Harbor United Methodist Church, reports

On August 29th Lake Harbor UMC continued its partnership with Ross Park Elementary School by delivering bags filled with school supplies to 28 teachers. 

Last May, teachers were asked to complete a “wish list” for the coming fall. Over the summer, the congregation collected funds by using an apple tree with apples of different dollar amounts for people to give.  Over $2,500 was raised.

Then a group from the church shopped for the supplies the teachers requested, put them together for each teacher, and delivered them as teachers prepared to welcome students. 

Each teacher received $75 in supplies. 

The delivery of supplies was covered by WZZM in their “One Good Thing” feature on August 29th. Click here to view the video.

Lake Harbor UMC gives school supplies
Joy is fresh markers for a creative start to the school year. These teachers and their colleagues at Ross Park Elementary School in Muskegon each received $75 in supplies from Lake Harbor United Methodist Church.~ photo courtesy Mary Ivanov

Last Updated on September 20, 2022

The Michigan Conference