Through a generous Christmas Eve "miracle offering", Indiana Grace United Methodist Church took a major step in helping the people of Ringai Church in Zimbabwe put a roof over their heads.
The Rev. David Henderson presented a check for $11,300 to Indiana District Superintendent Jim Pond during Jan. 25 worship services celebrating the hope the donation represents.
Henderson said the estimated cost to roof the Ringai structure is $9,000. He was delighted the collection literally went “over the top.” He said the congregation brought to life Ephesians 3:20 by illustrating the truth that Christ “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”
The Indiana District relates to the Ringai church through a partnership with the Marange District in the Zimbabwe East Conference. It is part of the Western PA Conference's Zimbabwe Partnership, which seeks to create new places for new people; develop principled Christian leaders; engage in ministry with the poor and stamp out the killer diseases that contribute to the cycle of poverty.
Pond thanked the congregation and challenged them to continue to live out the mission statement of Jesus found in Luke 4:17-21. Jesus was saying, “This is why I'm here,” Pond said, to bring good news to the poor and set captives free, bringing God's grace to people who are oppressed and suffering.
Pond said he observed a contemporary illustration of Christ's mandate when he was in Indiana on Jan. 17 for the Indiana County NAACP's annual Martin Luther King March. Grace Church annually hosts a luncheon following the march and this year Grace youth pastor Donovan Daniels delivered the luncheon message.
Pond said he already has next year's MLK celebration in Indiana on his calendar. Referring to the motion picture Selma, which many members of the Bishop's cabinet attended together, Pond said Dr. King's 1965 marches for voting rights and the violent response were seen by the world and “brought the oppression into the light.” The events in the Alabama city led to the signing of the voting rights act that same year, by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson.