This week we give thanks for UMC missionary Shirley Townsend-Jones (Advance # 982995), a Church and Community Worker serving the Bennettsville-Cheraw Area Cooperative Ministry (BCACM) since 1991. BCACM is a specialized ministry of the South Carolina Conference UMC. Prior to joining the BCACM staff, Shirley was Director of the Rockingham (NC) District Black Church Development Program. Shirley is a member of Piney Grove UMC in Maxton, NC and a lay member of the NC Annual Conference.
In reflecting on her ministry, Shirley says, “My work continuously involves reaching out to the poor, the abused, the abandoned, the sick and the aged, the poorly housed and the malnourished. God’s mission is being carried out through the programs and other services we provide through the cooperative ministry.”
BCACM is a rural cooperative ministry affiliated with nine UMCs located in two SC UMC districts. The combined membership is less than 2,500 members. Established in 1966, BCACM’s vision was enhanced ministry through shared efforts, “to light the flame of hope by striving to build and sustain communities of character with youth, young adults, and other adults who have high morality, integrity, and commitment to be leaders for the sake of the present generation.” Some of the ways BCACM ministers include:
- Tea Time with Teen’s Ministry, to support holistic development of teen girls ages 13-18
- Sacred Saturday Children’s Ministry, a once a month faith based program for young children, 1-12
- Concerned Men Movement, to encourage men to get involved in mentoring younger males
- Transporting seniors
- Common Mission Projects, such as Stop Hunger Now, a GO GREEN campaign, and food collections for local food pantries
- Community gardens
- Summer Enrichment Program for pre-K to 8th graders
Writing about the Sacred Saturday Children’s Ministry, Shirley says, “I was especially touched when we took the children on a cold and rainy evening to visit two of our local nursing homes to sing carols and visit the residents. Those residents poured out lots of love to the children and they received it in return from the children. After the visit, we returned to the church for fun, games, Bible stories and pizza. We had so much fun, the children and adults forgot about the rain and thanked God for the opportunity to “Spread Love in the Rain.” ”
Consider supporting Shirley in her ministry in one or more of the following ways:
- Pray for Shirley and her ministry in rural South Carolina
- Become more familiar with the Bennettsville-Cheraw Area Cooperative Ministry
- Email encouragement to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send a financial contribution for Shirley’s ministry via UMC Missions with Advance # 982995 in the memo line. Checks for the Advance may be sent through your local church or directly to the NCC Treasurer’s office: Conference Treasurer, Raleigh Area, P.O. Box 890202, Charlotte, NC 28289-0202.
In addition to Shirley Townsend-Jones, the NC Conference also supports Church and Community Workers Vickie Sigmon (#982916) and Gary Locklear (#982955). To find out more about the work of Church and Community Workers throughout the United States, click on the highlighted link.