By Jessica Brodie
MARION—Five decades after the assassination of one of the civil rights movement’s greatest heroes and servant-leaders, South Carolina United Methodists are honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a weekend dedicated to service.
On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, Jan. 18-20, the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church is hosting a Disaster Recovery Day of Service where volunteers will have the opportunity to work on homes impacted by Hurricane Florence.
Volunteers will serve alongside homeowners in the Lake View, Gresham, Brittons Neck, Mullins and Marion communities doing mostly indoor work, including drywall, flooring repairs, painting and trim work.
“The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is a time that everyone is encouraged to get out and improve their communities, and we are excited to offer the people of our conference an opportunity to get out into the mission field that is their own backyard,” said Tim Whitten, conference disaster recovery director. “Last September, the people of our conference stepped up big, and we need that same energy to get our efforts jump-started in 2020.
“The people of South Carolina who were impacted by Hurricane Florence still have a long way to go in order to make a full recovery, and we need as many of our fellow United Methodists as possible to be a part of making that happen.”
On Sept. 21, more than 100 people—117 adults and 16 youth—gathered at St. Paul UMC, Chesterfield, and were deployed to 12 projects across the Pee Dee to help people impacted by the storm in a conference-wide Disaster Recovery Day of Service, doing everything from drywall repair, replacement and painting to outdoor siding and roof repair.
Discover recovery leaders are hoping the long weekend will provide even more of an opportunity to help.
Two months before his assassination, King preached his famous sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct,” offering Jesus’s new definition of greatness: that he who is greatest shall be a servant (Matthew 23:11).
“By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,” King preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church in February 1968. “You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.”
That is the essence of this disaster recovery service weekend, Whitten said—everyone can be that servant.
Most of the work done during the MLK Service Weekend will be inside, Whitten said, so weather will not be an issue. Teams will be get briefed on their projects prior to the event, and check-in will take place at First UMC, Marion, between 7:30 and 8 a.m. both mornings. If enough people register in advance, there will also be projects planned for Marlboro County.
The deadline for registration is Jan. 5.
For more information, email Emily Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register: https://www.umcsc.org/disasterrecovery_january18-20_dayofservice_registration/.