Delegates make impact on neighbors during mission event (June 17, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Delegates make impact on neighbors during mission event

June 17, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0095}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

DAYTONA BEACH — Susan Hulcher met a woman she'll never forget while participating in a Celebrate Jesus mini-mission during the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event June 3-6 at Bethune-Cookman College here.

DAYTONA BEACH — United Methodists who participated in the Celebrate Jesus mini-mission June 4 get to know area residents at the Family Fun Day held on the beach the next day. Photo by Geoff Anderson, Photo #04-0035.

A member of Conway United Methodist Church in Orlando, Hulcher was among the more than 400 people who didn't allow sporadic cloudy skies to dampen their spirits June 4 as they canvassed the areas surrounding Daytona's Stewart Memorial and Community United Methodist churches. She and her group were walking the area around Community United Methodist Church when they met a woman standing on the sidewalk who was looking for a room to rent after losing her home in Virginia and moving to the area.

"We talked to her and brought her to the church and introduced her to the pastor who told her about the church pantry," Hulcher said. "She was just overcome with emotion that we cared enough about her to bring her to the church. You would think that people would be shy about opening up to a perfect stranger, but they're not."

Hulcher, who has participated in three other Celebrate Jesus missions, said the key to sharing God's love with people is to "not be afraid to step outside the box."

"Everybody needs somebody to care about them," she said.

That's what her husband, Clint, discovered when his group, in a separate location, encountered a man who was recently discharged from a drug rehabilitation clinic and looking to make a fresh start in life, Hulcher said. The man told the group he hadn't had anything to eat in three or four days. They took him to a nearby fast-food restaurant and talked to him about making some positive changes in his life and the role the church could play in assisting him.

"You know, I said a little prayer right before we came up on that man for God to send us someone, and there he was, just standing on the sidewalk," said Hulcher, who was participating in his first mission. "God gives us signs if we could only see them."

The Rev. Clifford Patrick, pastor of Bartley Temple United Methodist Church in Gainesville, said it was easy to see why people who have been on a Celebrate Jesus mission repeat it over and over again. He visited the area around Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church.

"This is my first mission," he said. "It's something I've always wanted to do. I think this is something wonderful to have going on at annual conference. It's just a wonderful thing to do."

Patrick said he was looking forward to possibly organizing a Celebrate Jesus mission at his church, as was Ted Wood, a member of Rockledge United Methodist Church in Rockledge, who was also participating in a mission for the first time. He said it wouldn't be his last.

Liz Taylor completed her second mission beneath the cloudy skies that threatened rain, but her spirit was bright.

"I love seeing Jesus in the lost souls," said the member of Clearview United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg. "I love bringing the Bible to them and giving them hope."

DAYTONA BEACH — Area residents join United Methodists June 5 for a Family Fun Day at the band shell here. Neighbors were treated to free food and the music of bands from around the conference, plus a chance to learn more about the conference’s churches and their ministries. Photo by Geoff Anderson, Photo #04-0033.

While canvassing the area around the churches that Friday, volunteers distributed fliers announcing Family Fun Day the next day at the Daytona Beach Band Shell as part of the Celebrate Jesus mission. Churches shared their ministries by setting up booths, and a live band and free hotdogs and chicken completed the day.

Karen Taylor, executive director of Celebrate Jesus, said she was pleased with the total event.

"We were very, very happy," she said. "We felt good things were accomplished for the conference and the people of Daytona Beach. We were pleased with the response from the conference and the community and thankful for the opportunity to do it."

Taylor said she met a man on the beach who was one of the more than 4,000 contacts made during the mission.

"He told me that he had lived in Daytona Beach 25 years and never had anyone come to his door to offer a celebration of Jesus," she said. "We are very, very appreciative to have been a part of that."

DAYTONA BEACH — United Methodists churches set up booths on the beach as part of the June 5 Family Fun Day at the band shell here. The day before delegates canvassed areas of Daytona Beach to introduce residents to the love of Jesus Christ and invite them to the day of fun. Photo by Geoff Anderson, Photo #04-0034.

Normally, a Celebrate Jesus mission is a weeklong effort during which local churches reach out to their community. Churches set their own goals, design their campaigns and recruit members to participate. A visiting team of laity and clergy coordinated by Celebrate Jesus organizers helps members of the local churches with their mission projects.

For more information about Celebrate Jesus visit

To view daily photos of the event’s activities and business visit


This article relates to the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

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