Thursday, July 23, 2015
School enrollment is underway. The stores are stocked with supplies. The aisles are full of parents searching desperately for the specific brand of a specific marker for a specific class. It can be stressful. It can be really stressful if you are one of those parents and after you find as many of the supplies as you can you don’t know if you have enough money to pay for them.
There is help. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Burns Flat, Oklahoma is once again conducting the backpack ministry. Parents who cannot afford to buy school supplies this year and who have children attending Will Rogers Elementary School should come by the church building from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Friday, 7 August 2015. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church is located at 205 State Highway 44 in Burns Flat; that’s just north and east of the traffic light.
Children do not need to attend the sign up but must attend the pickup. It is at the issue of supplies where the ministry takes place. Children help children pick out a backpack while other helpers bring the supplies to the family and all gather for prayer to bless the family and the school year ahead.
When do my children pick up their supplies? Pick up is scheduled for Wednesday, 12 August 2015. Each family will be given an appointment so as to minimize the waiting time.
What about children who attend the junior high or high school? They may sign up as well and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church will provide some help. Unlike elementary grades, standardized school supply lists published in advance are not available but the church will work with these students in meeting specific needs as identified.
Why does the church do this? It is about being God’s love in action—taking his love to the world. In this instance, this part of the body of Christ thought that a very good way to love one another was to help with school supplies so that every child could get off to a good start this school year. Yes, there is an agenda here but it is far from a hidden agenda. Everywhere these followers of Jesus go, they remind people that God loves them and that we are to love one another.
Friday, July 10, 2015
For teachers, school is just a month away. Students have a few days longer before their return to the classroom, but for those involved in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Backpack Ministry, school is in session now.
For the past several years, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church has helped children with school supplies. Normally, between 80 and 100 children are helped each year. The church budgets a significant amount of money each year for this ministry. The Vacation Bible School offering goes to purchase school supplies for children in our own community. Often the Burns Flat – Dill City Ministerial Alliance makes a contribution, but most of the funds that make this ministry possible come from the generosity of individuals in the community.
If historical trends hold, the Backpack Ministry will need $5,000 to accomplish the mission this year. For the past 7 years, every child that has come for help received help with almost 100% of their required supplies. That means that many who have been blessed chose to bless others.
That will need to continue this year if those in need are to receive help once again. For those parents who are able to purchase school supplies for their own children, please consider purchasing supplies for 1 or 2 more children. It costs about $50 to outfit a child with a backpack and the supplies to fill it.
If you would like to donate to this local mission, you may make a check out to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and note “Backpacks” in the “for “ section of your check. Drop the donation by the church building at 205 State Highway 44 in Burns Flat or mail it to PO Box 8, Burns Flat OK 73624.
Sign up dates for those needing help with school supplies will be announced soon. Now is the time to call upon the generosity of the community once again as the school year approaches.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Local author Tom Spence will be signing books at the Sunshine Café in Cordell, Oklahoma on Saturday, 18 July 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. On Tuesday, 14 July 2015, Tom’s first novel, Even the Elect, will be released nationally by Tate Publishing.
Earlier this year, Tate released Throw Away Kids by Tom Spence. This identifies a generation of children that has been abandoned by their parents. Even though the children and parents may live under the same roof, the adults in this dynamic have walked away from parenting their children. The book asks the question: Are we concerned enough to get involved?
What does involvement mean? Part of it is mentoring those who have thrown in the towel on parenting back to the calling they were given at the birth of their first child. This book is not for the timid. It is not for those who would prefer to continue pointing fingers. It is for those ready to practice leadership at the community level and reclaim the family and community dynamic needed to bring up future generations in the way they should go.
Tom is a 1979 graduate of Oklahoma State University, a retired Marine Corps officer, and an ordained minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He currently resides in Burns Flat, Oklahoma.
Tom will have several of his other titles with him as well. The Sunshine Café is located at 113 East Main Street in Cordell, Oklahoma. That’s on the north side of the town square.