Godly Play to be offered at Oconee Street

Oconee Street UMC will soon be offering “Godly Play,” an interactive church experience for children ages 3 to 6.

Godly Play teaches children the art of using Christian language-parable, sacred story, silence and liturgical action, helping them become more fully aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives. The program is based on a lifetime of research and practice by theologian, author and educator, The Rev. Dr. Jerome Berryman.

At Oconee Street UMC, Godly Play will be offered at 717 during the 11 a.m. service hour.  There will be information sessions held for parents and anyone interested in learning more about Godly Play, and anyone interested in helping. The sessions will be held:

  • Monday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m., 717
  • Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., 717
  • Sunday, Oct. 15 at 9:45 a.m. (during Adult Sunday School), Conference Room

Childcare is available for these sessions. For more information or to RSVP, contact Julie Gunby at j.d.gunby@gmail.com.

Parking For God

The United Methodist Mens (UMM) are once again hosting “Parking for God” this football season.

Because of the church’s close proximity to Sanford Stadium, the church offers ideal parking spaces for fans attending University of Georgia home football games. A group of volunteers direct parking on the property of the church for $25-$30/each, with all funds going towards a local charity. Last year more than $5,000 was raised for U-Lead, an organization that offers undocumented or under-documented students tutoring, mentoring and opportunities for higher education.

This year, Oconee Street UMC volunteers will direct parking on the following Georgia home games:
-Sept. 2 vs. Appalachian State
-Sept. 16 vs. Samford
-Sept. 23 vs. Mississippi State
-Oct. 14 vs. Missouri
-Nov. 4 vs. South Carolina
-Nov. 18 vs. Kentucky

For more information or to volunteer, email Chase Cook at fccook@hotmail.com.

Community Cookout to be held Saturday

IMG_0017Oconee Street UMC invites its neighbors to the church’s annual Community Cookout, held from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 717 Oconee Street.

“This event is a way we can meet our neighbor’s in the surrounding Carr’s Hill Community,” said church member and event organizer Lew Allen.

Hot dogs, burgers (including veggie burgers) and several snacks will be served, while local musicians perform on the porch of 717 Oconee Street — the church’s one-time parsonage, now a meeting place for the church and various community organizations.

In addition to food and music, there will be several games available for children of all ages.

For more information, email Lew Allen.

VBS to be held July 10-14

Oconee Street UMC will be helping “children discover the qualities that make them heroic in God” at its annual Vacation Bible School from July 10-14. This year’s theme is “Hero Central: Discover Your Strength in God.”

VBS is open to children ages 3 through rising 5th-grade students. Sessions will be held each day, July 10-14, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Participants are divided into age-specific groups and each day cycle through classes including science, story time, arts and craft, music, and recreation.

Registration is open at http://2017.cokesburyvbs.com/oconeestreetumc.

Volunteers are also needed to teach classes, guide student groups, setup, cleanup and other activities. To volunteer, click on the registration link and select “Volunteer.”

For more information about VBS, email Jamie Clark.

Talents to be on display at OSUMC Coffeehouse

Oconee Street UMC is hosting its annual open-mic coffeehouse night on Friday, Feb. 3 from 7-9 in the fellowship hall.

Musical performances, poems and comedy acts will be performed by church members, and desserts and coffee (of course) will be served. The event is open to the public and is being sponsored by the church’s neighborhood outreach committee.

If interested in performing at the event, email <a href=”mailto:lewallen@uga.edu?Subject=Coffeehouse” target=”_top”>Lew Allen</a>

 

VIDEO: “The Work of Christmas”

The Oconee Street UMC Chancel Choir performed “The Work of Christmas” to more than 150 audience members on Dec. 6, 2016 in the sanctuary. The choir performance, directed by Amanda Martin, featured 11 instrumentalists, six actors and a narrator. Click here to see photos from the event.

PHOTO GALLERY: “The Work of Christmas”

The Oconee Street UMC Chancel Choir performed “The Work of Christmas” to more than 150 audience members on Dec. 6, 2016 in the sanctuary. The choir performance, directed by Amanda Martin, featured 11 instrumentalists, six actors and a narrator. Click here to watch the performance.

All photos by Jaydon Dennis

 

 

Detention and Deportation: A Christian Response

On September 18 from 9:45-10:45 am a panel will lead us in a discussion of ongoing detention and deportation in the Athens immigrant community, and how our church might respond. This is the handout we’ll share, in case you want to study it ahead of time to formulate your own thoughts, experiences, and questions.

 When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. Leviticus 19:33-34

 Carlos, a proud and responsible father of 5 Clarke County School District children, was rear ended while driving to work. The police arrested him for driving without a license; Georgia denies licenses to undocumented immigrants.  Soon after that, as he was leaving for work, ICE arrested him and detained him indefinitely in a prison with nearly 2,000 other immigrants in South Georgia. His wife was horrified at having to tell her children when they came home from school that they might never see their father again.

Compared to national averages, undocumented immigrants in Georgia are

  • more likely to be detained and deported
  • more likely to be picked up by ICE for traffic offenses and other minor infractions. “Immigration judges and ICE attorneys are more harsh and aggressive…they classify as criminals those with arrests for driving without a license, or on 10-20 year old DIU arrests where the person has paid the fine and fulfilled the legal obligations…” (FULTON COUNTY, CBS46))
  • less likely to receive bond (5%vs. 10.5%k ) or more likely to pay a higher bond ($13,714 vs. $8,200)
  • more likely to be deported (87%versus 60%)
  • more likely to be denied parole (.7% vs. 5.8%)

 In June 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote to Department of Homeland Security, which includes ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), to express its concern that detention exposes asylum-seeking families to unnecessary mental and physical health risks (depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress), while exacerbating the trauma they fled in their countries. Similar negative health outcomes have been found for children who are not detained, but have a parent at risk of detention or deportation.

How is our church currently involved with our immigrant neighbors?

  • We give $250 a month for families who have been affected by deportation
  • We funded several DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applications
  • We donated rice, beans, diapers, clothing, and Christmas presents
  • UMM helped restore the family home of a man killed in a storm last year
  • We provide space for U-Lead Athens weekly meetings; several members are actively involved as tutors, dinner providers, and donors to the Scholarship Fund

What are additional ways our church can respond? 

  • Provide support for families who have lost a parent to detention/deportation by building financial support into the church budget, and by individual contributions
  • Work with the Athens Banner Herald, Flagpole, and/or our North Georgia Conference Undocumented Partnership Task Force blog to publicize stories every time there is a raid
  • Join the support system in place at Pinewoods – become a buddy, provide rides, find support for legal advice, food, temporary housing
  • Organize a coalition of faith-based organizations in the Athens Area to provide legal, financial, emotional, and other needed support for families going through the deportation process with the goal of preventing deportation, not only caring in the aftermath.
  • Provide transitional housing when a family has lost a member to detention

 Provide Sanctuary to an individual in immanent danger of deportation. The New Sanctuary Movement is a coalition of interfaith religious leaders and congregations, called by faith and conscience to respond to the suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters facing detention and deportation.

 Initial steps:

  1. Expand partnership with our undocumented neighbors to learn needs
  2. Enter into a time of prayer and discernment
  3. Create a coalition of congregations in advocacy efforts, legal and logistical support, vigils, and financial support
  4. Work with an immigration lawyer. Most Sanctuary cases begin when a lawyer identifies someone working to stop their deportation order without success.
  5. Make a public Declaration of Sanctuary at a press conference

Submitted by JoBeth Allen

C.S. Lewis Bible Study

751830A Tuesday night Bible study examining renowned author C.S. Lewis and his relationship with God will begin Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.

The study, titled “C.S. Lewis: Reluctant Disciple: Faith, Reason and the Power of the Gospel,” will be the weekly college Bible study class for the semester. However, the class is open to anyone interested in attending.

The class will meet at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall each week for light snacks, study and discussion. For more information,  email <a href=”mailto:oconeestreetyouth@gmail.com”>Allison Floyd.</a>

Register for VBS by July 10

logo-glowRegister for VBS by July 10!

Surf’s up at VBS 2016 as children will “catch the wave of God’s amazing love” at the Surf Shack,  July 25-29 from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Registration is now open here.

Volunteers are needed to have a successful VBS program. Youth (middle school/high school students) are also encouraged to serve as volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for VBS, please contact Jamie Clark.