Church scores touchdown with party for homeless



e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service
      
 

Church scores touchdown with party for homeless

Feb. 18, 2008  News media contact: Tita Parham*
800-282-8011 
tparham@flumc.org  Orlando {0799}

An e-Review Feature
By Mary Downey**

KISSIMMEE — Two minutes left in the game and the Giants are trailing.

Suddenly, the underdog makes a run for it, and 29 homeless men and women of Kissimmee stand up and cheer as the final touchdown is made.

Eva Adams helps serve pizza and soda at First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee’s Super Bowl party for the community’s homeless residents. Photo courtesy of First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee. Photo #08-0753.

That was the scene Feb. 3 when members of First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee not only opened their hearts and minds to the homeless community, but also their doors.

The idea to hold a Super Bowl XLII party for the homeless came from church member Mike Buford. Buford volunteers at the church’s Sunday night mission supper and felt members should give the homeless men and women a place where they could have pizza and soda and watch the big game.

The missions supper team planned the party, and with some help from Brighthouse Networks, got the cable up and running in the church’s fellowship hall.

Buford says the night helped relieve some homesickness for a few of the game fans. “Many of these men and women are from the New York area, so in a way it made them feel like they were home,” he said.

Dwight Oakes, the church’s youth director, provided a short devotional and prayer to the group before they had dinner.

“One of the men told me when I told him we would have a big screen TV, ‘Any screen will do,’ ” Oakes said. “… They were so appreciative to be able to watch the game.”

The game night was not the first event the church has held for the homeless community. It’s part of a continuous effort to connect with that demographic. Every Sunday night volunteers prepare a meal and devotional for the homeless in the church’s fellowship hall. The church is also planning a movie night the last Sunday of each month — another of Buford’s ideas.

“I just think it would be really nice,” Buford said.

A family-friendly movie will be shown after dinner, and popcorn and soda will be served.

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*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Downey is a freelance writer based in Kissimmee and director of programming and evangelism at First United Methodist Church, Kissimmee.




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