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NOMADS helps churches make repairs (Feb. 19, 2004)

NOMADS helps churches make repairs (Feb. 19, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

NOMADS helps churches make repairs

Feb. 19, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0026}

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

MIMS - The amount of work that needed to be done at Mims United Methodist Church was absolutely daunting for the congregation, but the pastor had an idea.

MIMS - NOMADS volunteers Joan Meyer (left) and Zoe Lawhorn (right) tackle a painting project at Mims United Methodist Church in the Melbourne District. NOMADS volunteers provide their own transportation to a project and are self-sufficient while on a site working. They volunteer to work on any mission's project designated by the host group. NOMADS is a program area of the General Board of Global Ministries' Volunteers in Mission. Photo by Joyce Meyer, Photo #04-0006.
The Rev. David Harris applied last year for volunteers from Nomads On A Mission of Divine Service (NOMADS) to visit the church and work their magic.

NOMADS is a mission outreach ministry of the United Methodist Church through the Volunteers in Mission (VIM) program area of the General Board of Global Ministries. The group is jokingly referred to as "Normal Old Methodists Avoiding Deep Snow" since many of the volunteers are retirees from the north who work at churches in the south in the winter.

NOMADS provides volunteer labor and tools for projects involving remodeling, repair or construction to church related camps, youth centers and other agencies.

Four couples who volunteer with NOMADS arrived at Mims United Methodist Church this past January to give the church a much-needed face-lift. They were soon busy painting the fellowship hall and sanctuary, power washing church buildings, and cleaning wrought iron and ceiling fans. They even cleaned window screens and washed windows, among other duties that had gone undone.

Harris said the group's biggest project was turning the unfinished attic into a youth area and storage facility. He said the group worked Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for three weeks and was followed by four additional couples who completed more projects.

"It's just been incredible," he said. "I think in labor alone the work they did would have cost between $5,000 and $6,000. It is absolutely incredible, there's no way to describe the amount of work they do. They have been a tremendous blessing to the church."

Barbara Hinegardner said NOMADS has been a blessing to thousands of United Methodist congregations throughout the country. She serves on the NOMADS board of directors and agency selection committee and is a NOMADS volunteer to the Southeastern Jurisdiction.

"NOMADS are great for churches with older congregations," Hinegardner said. "Many times older members of the church will come work along us and realize they are able to do the work that they thought they couldn't do. I guess we're kind of a spark that gets things going."

The Rev. Warren Bennett is happy NOMADS volunteers have been busy at White City United Methodist Church in Fort Pierce. He said the group did a variety of work at the parsonage, including roof repair and repairing or replacing all faucets, and painted the sanctuary for the first time in 15 years.

"I think they have provided about $10,000 worth of labor," Bennett said. "We bought the items they needed, and God provided the talent and skill required to get the job done. There was a lot of plumbing that needed to be done, and there was a master plumber on the team. It's been a gift."

Hinegardner, who has been on about 15 missions with the group, said churches may apply for winter, summer or fall projects. She said there are currently about 200 NOMADS volunteers active in the state.

Harris said next year he would like NOMADS to return and help the church with community outreach projects, such as repairing homes of the elderly residents living around the church.

"I would love for them to come back every year for a different project," Harris said. "I want them to become a regular part of this church."

NOMADS volunteers also do office/clerical work, sew and other miscellaneous tasks in support of mission work for churches, youth camps and relief agencies associated with a local United Methodist Church.

For more information visit the NOMADS Web site at


This article relates to Outreach and Missions.

*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.