Member Spotlight – First Mennonite Church of McPherson
You’ve seen it almost daily in the news. The immigrant crisis. Painful pictures of immigrants seeking refuge at the U.S./Mexico border, yet caught in the middle of a political and humanitarian “Catch-22.” But First Mennonite Church in McPherson is working to help ease the pain.
According to Eric Duerksen, one of the members of the First Mennonite Church in McPherson, some of the folks who are detained at the border can be kept there for several days and in some cases even months. Eric said when migrants leave the detention centers, sometimes all they have is the clothes on their backs. They are leaving the centers with very little as they are put onto buses to reconnect with family or sponsors in the U.S.
Church members Bill and Dayle Toews saw first-hand, during a recent trip to McAllen, TX with an MCC Learning Tour, how some organizations have been addressing the desperate need to provide basic items for immigrants trying to come into the U.S. Motivated by what they saw led them to head up a local donation drive to collect items to help fill kits for detainees. In the Immigration Detainee Care Kits are things like hygiene products and a few clothing items – things we take for granted. Imagine not having a towel to dry off with, a toothbrush, or even a second set of clothes to change into. Duffel bags and backpacks filled with basic items are given to detainees as they depart the detention centers. The kits being assembled locally will be sent to organizations like the Catholic Charities Respite Center and the Methodist Good Neighbor Settlement who work on the frontlines to assist migrants. Dayle said the Care Kits are desperately needed and what has been collected locally will make a big impact on those who will receive them.
The First Mennonite Church strives to help the less fortunate locally, around the state, and worldwide. MCC helps to facilitate worldwide outreach projects for the McPherson First Mennonite Church. One of the outreach projects they help with is the meat canning event which occurs each fall. A mobile meat canner is used to can thousands of pounds of meat. It’s then sent all over the world to countries in need, to provide safe, nutritious meat to eat. Another ministry that First Mennonite Church helps with through MCC is collecting and assembling school supply kits that are distributed globally.
Locally and statewide, the First Mennonite Church helps non-profit organizations like Mt. Hope Sanctuary, the OMEGA Project, Habitat for Humanity, the Save & Share Thrift Store, and the ReUse It Center. The quilting group at the church annually makes a quilt specifically for the MCC Sale in Hutchinson, with the proceeds going to fight hunger and provide relief.
Being able to help the less fortunate, whether it’s locally or worldwide, is the heart and soul of the First Mennonite Church, led by Pastor Rose Marie Zook Barber. The First Mennonite Church has activities for all ages, as well as Bible study groups in the fall and spring. Sunday School starts at 9:30 a.m., followed by a 10:40 a.m. Worship Service. Learn more about the First Mennonite Church and their outreach projects on their website or Facebook page. First Mennonite Church is located at 1161 East Avenue A. Photos from Chamber Connections hosted by First Mennonite Church of McPherson can be seen here.