Our neighbors can see the hands and feet of Jesus at work in our community. 2020 has been an interesting year for the Mission Team! Here’s our recap to share the excitement of following a new path this year. COVID changed many things, but not the spirit of Bethany to be a Beacon of Light for the community. We are noting the items that were church-centric below, but we also thank the hundreds of Bethany members who contributed individually through mask-making, charitable donations, meal deliveries and much more! If you would like to learn more about the organizations below, please visit www.bethanyum.org, Missions Page. Ideas for mission activities can be submitted to bethanymissionserve@gmail.com.

Sandy Ugol
Chair Bethany Missions Team

We kicked off the year with Cold Weather Shelter. Over 100 volunteers served a range of 16-24 guests nightly, including two families, for a week. In addition to the estimated $3,500 in goods, we donated $1,000. We have continued to support Grassroots and the Route 1 Day Shelter throughout the year with food drives and meal donations estimated at $1,000. Bethany members donated furnishings for Grassroots housing project. Estimated impact adds another $2,000 in support.

February and March were spent preparing for the Prison Campership program which normally takes place during the summer. Unfortunately, this year we were unable to send the campers, but they were registered! Instead, we sent each family a gift card to support their summer fun! $1,300 was donated. Since we were unable to do some of our Prison Ministry programs, we have donated $500 to Global Leadership Summit for Prison Programs and $300 to Good News Jail serving Carroll County.

April was busy with small projects, including mask donations, a card writing program for the nursing home and donating supplies from Bethany’s Food Pantry and Kitchen. We also donated $100 in cleaning supplies to a local Ellicott City business as they worked to reopen. Christian Services received a donation of $2,562, Heiffer Project received a donation of $4,280 and World Communion received a donation of $2,225 directly from congregational contributions! Operation Oasis received $500.

Food security is a high priority. In April, we estimate $1,500 in goods with over 800 pounds of food going to the Howard County Food Bank and FISH. Supplies of $300 were donated to the Ronald McDonald House plus $1,000 which paid for two full meals for the 55 families being served by the house in Baltimore! Imagine the impact a meal can have on a family at such a stressful time. Our food drives have also supported the Salvation Army Food Pantry, Open Doors Food Pantry, Howard County Food Bank and the Mt. Zion Food Pantry. Another $2,000 in food donations! $1,000 was donated to First Fruits Farm, $500 to St. Andrews Potato Project and $1,000 to FISH. Our next food drive is 12/7-13! We hope you can join!

In March we began planning for our second year of Rebuilding Together. COVID prevented our volunteer event so we donated $5,000 for a project to be completed by the RT staff and contractors. Photos coming soon! Bethany continues to work with Bridges for Housing Stability by providing the parsonage to a family an estimated $20,000 service and we donated $500 in additional support.

In our local school community, Bethany donated $475 in gift cards to Homewood School for families in need. Homewood is the alternative middle and high school for the Howard County Public School System serving 135 students with more than 65% of the students qualifying for Free and Reduced Meals and more than 60% of the students receiving Special Education Services. Our book drive collected ten boxes donated to Running Brook Elementary School, gift estimated at $250.

Our international support included sponsoring the Santimay missionary efforts in Thailand for $3,000, Huree University scholarship program for $1,000, and in honor of Charlotte Clive’s 20th year doing medical mission work in Honduras $1,000. We will be sponsoring a seminary student in Russia during 2021 for $1,400. Our last big event pre-COVID closure was Rise Against Hunger with over 50 volunteers participating! In addition to the man-hours, Bethany donated $3,452 for the meals sent to Somalia.

Bethany has supported Burmese families through the Refugee program for many years, under the direction of Becky Shipp and Joan Simon. This program continues as a reading program with typically $300 in supplies, but this year we added an outreach activity in August as a partnership with Epworth UMC to donate 250 hygiene kits to families in need in the Montgomery County area. $1,000 in supplies.

Our September outdoor mission activity created signs to thank first responders, teachers and others in our community for their service. What a joy to see! We created over 100 hygiene kits, food bags and snack items for homeless programs in Baltimore City totaling $1,000 in goods. We also donated cleaning supplies to At Jacob’s Well along with $500.

This fall we donated $300 to the Alzheimer’s Walk in honor of Kathy Wehr’s team, $500 to the Board of Child Care, $500 to the City of Refuge, $500 to the Horizon Foundation all serving our local community. Navigators received $2,000 in honor of Amy Ferrell’s ministry with young families. $300 will be going to the Ellicott City Fire Department. An additional book donation is expected soon totaling $250.

Bethany has long been known for generosity at the holidays. In honor of Harry Smith, we have donated $2,000 to Toys for Tots. Five families are receiving Thanksgiving meals through gift cards! The Angel Tree program will be contact-less this year with gift card donations for 26 children. Details regarding the process will be available on the Bethany website after Thanksgiving. Our Christmas Prison Ministry program will look different this year as the prison has restricted access, however, we will be starting a new program with Open Doors America to provide backpacks to those reentering the community from the Howard County Detention Center. Bethany’s website will include other ways you can engage this holiday season including volunteering at the Operation Christmas Child warehouse, making kits for Operation Gratitude, supporting the Board of Child Care wish list and more. We estimate $3,000 in donations for these areas.

Because of your generous gifts:

$38,594 in financial donations! $36,200 in goods and services donated! Total community impact $74,794!
Food security and Housing support $42,000
Prison Ministry $3,100
Local Community $5,312
Families and Children $8,025
International Missions $16,357

Each year, Bethany selects an area of need for Christmas offerings. This year our goal is to raise $10,000 to donate to charities engaged in mental health services. Please help us achieve our goal to continue to serve and bless those in need. If you wish to donate, please visit our website and select missions as your donation category.