Tag Archive for: Stephens City UMC

Caring Outreach Team donates gift basket to support upcoming WATTS Gala.

The Stephens City UMC Caring Outreach Team donated items for a basket to be auctioned to support the upcoming WATTS Caring and Sharing Gala at Bowling Green Country Club North in Front Royal. The event is to take place on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

The annual fundraiser is a fun evening with dinner, live music, dancing, raffles, and awards, with recognition for all the volunteers, churches, community organizations and businesses who make WATTS a success each and every season. The event is also the major source through which WATTS secures the necessary funding for their organization and the upcoming winter shelter season.

WATTS is truly a community effort in the fight to alleviate homelessness. Donations from generous individuals, churches, community organizations, businesses, and foundations, in combination with successful fundraising efforts, are the life-blood that allows WATTS to successfully continue their mission and keep expanding services.

Thanks to all for the SCUMC donations and also to Mildred Smith and Jane Young for creating such a beautiful gift basket!

Trunk-or-Treat touches many lives in Stephens City community

Be the Salt and the Light!

14 “You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

The 2021 Saturday Trunk-or-Treat event was not a success by coincidence.  It was all about good and simple planning, strategy, design and of course, plenty of congregation volunteers.  Our church knows parents would appreciate a free, safe, easy alternative to the traditional Trick or Treat night.  An afternoon Trunk or Treat event allows kids to have all the fun of Halloween while reducing some of the hazards they face walking door-to-door.  The event also provides access to Halloween festivities for families who do not live in a typical residential neighborhood.

During September, we collaborated on promotional activities to include church web site and Facebook notifications, public service announcements, signage, newspaper bulletins and feature articles.  Church organizers solicited donations by placing a candy drop off station near the administration office to supplement the chocolate inventory.  Due to the strong possibility of inclement weather, a Rain Date was made for Sunday, however the Good Lord provided for a rain free occasion and only a drizzle arrived at the conclusion of the afternoon activity.  On event day, ministry leaders pre-staged their harvest theme decorated vehicle trunks loaded with traditional Halloween treats.  Photographers were on site to capture the special moments.

Our small church parking lot was strategically laid out to handle fifteen vans and SUV’s, numerous games and one humongous RWB garbage disposal truck from Boyce also distributing treats.  Entrance and traffic flow signs were liberally placed to keep families moving in the proper direction and make the best use of limited space.  The large parking lot across Germain Street provided ample space and traffic control was managed by volunteers who routed visitors to the entrance on Filbert Street and exiting cars via Germain Street.  A volunteer guided families through the crosswalk which allowed for a steady stream of children seeking Halloween treats while providing proper safety management.  Two Stephens City police cruisers, maintained traffic control around the church property area streets during the Trunk-or-Treat.

This was a “Main Street” event and parents brought their children by car and many town locals came by foot, dressed in costume, collecting candy as they visited each car, all located in one parking lot.  The Trunk-or-Treat event comprised a wide range of activities including tossing a Velcro ball to stick to a pumpkin, carrying an eyeball in a spoon across the great church lawn, lobbing a beanbag into hula hoops and of course, the now mandatory, Corn Hole.  Visitors could register for the hundred-dollar, fifty dollar and twenty-five-dollar gift cards.  Artist Michael Bulley, created balloon animals for the kids.  Children patiently waited in long lines to receive over 200 balloons and were ever fascinated by the magic from the timeless art of balloon twisting and balloon animals.  Mr. Bulley is a fund-raising member of the Disabled American Veterans Department of Virginia, Chapter 9, Winchester. Attendance was estimated at between 300-400 people.

Children entering from the west parking lot had the opportunity to take photos with Sparky the Fire Dog.  Stephens City Fire and Rescue provided an engine on site which included tours of the customized equipment used during firefighting operations and members to assist with the static display.  Kids met firefighters and learned about fire safety basics.  The fire truck blared its siren at precisely 1 PM to commence the Trunk-or-Treat activity and again at 3 PM to conclude the candy give-away.  The Trunk-or-Treat Costume Parade began at 3 PM along the sidewalks on Main, Filbert and Germain Streets.  Church Elders carried the new SCUMC banner.  The parade had oversight provided by Stephens City police cruiser escort.  The cruisers, with lights flashing, led and trailed the parade, offering caution to pedestrians and safety awareness to vehicle traffic along the short route.  The parade, with spectators lining the streets, provided children an exciting opportunity to play act what it is like to transform into someone or something else for one afternoon.

Pastor Bertina Westley had the chance to meet with visitors who were unfamiliar with our church or who once attended in the past.  Pastor took the opportunity to speak with these families and let them know about other events we are planning and about possibly registering with our pre-school, daycare, senior center, bible study, vacation bible school, and STEM camp with an open heart to God’s Word.  She also asked for suggestions on how next year’s Trunk or Treat could be improved.  Pastor believes with continued careful planning, Trunk-or-Treat can easily become an event that the entire Stephens City neighborhood looks forward to each year.  May God bless our church as we actively demonstrate generosity, care and compassion for the Stephens City community.

Stephens City UMC Summer Art Camp

According to retired school teacher Jacquetta Owen, “the educator in me just won’t quit.” Jacquetta is so energized by working with kids, teaching new skills and seeing their “ah-ha” moments. Jacquetta had several reasons for leading the week-long STEAM Art Camp, August 10-14. First, the educational part – working with individual students to problem solve and create. Second, share our Stephens City United Methodist Church (SCUMC) family and opportunities with families with elementary school age children to gainfully involve them in the church activities. Third, bring in “helpers”, visiting teachers, for their expertise in various fields, again to let them know we are a loving and active church. Fourth, generate additional funds to the daycare and church, although about half of the registration fee supports procurement of art supplies. All the support personnel are volunteers and graciously share their gifts.

In recent years, STEAM education—the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics—has become a national priority. This focus has been driven by concerns over international competitiveness, dating back to the early days of the space race. The focus is also fueled by data reflecting our youth are not graduating with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly-evolving, technologically-driven workforce. A third reason for the focus—one that is particularly important when considering the education of younger children—is the role of STEAM in shaping our state-of-the-art lifestyles.

The STEAM Art Camp is organized through the SCUMC daycare program which maintains a license to care for students from age 5 through age 11. Jacquetta also recognized that the art camp was most conducive (in a COVID-19 environment) to working outside with safe social distancing and keeping supplies available for each individual (no sharing). Art was the only subject that did not involve functioning in groups and sharing materials. All 10 student slots were quickly filled.

During the five day, three-hour classes, students enjoyed multi-sensory experiences, strengthening fine motor skills, enhancing color and shape awareness, improving resourcefulness and problem solving abilities while completing various art projects. The students learned new vocabulary (aurora borealis and symmetry), explored using measuring techniques and found joy in experimenting with new materials. The week-long activities also involved stained glass pictures, 3-D chalk pictures, pop-up card making, shaving cream art and creating mandalas.

“STEAM understanding can no longer be provided just to elite students; all children need the underlying thinking personalities and understanding to succeed in a STEAM-driven economy and world,” Jacquetta said. For more information on future SCUMC STEAM classes, contact Jacquetta Owen at [email protected].

See Northern Virginia Daily summer camp article

Valley Pike: A church with a mission (Stephens City UMC in the news)

Cathy, though, has bigger goals in mind as missions chair. She’s currently negotiating with REACH Mission Trips to dispatch their volunteers to Stephens City. Though REACH may have started in a man’s garage more than 20 years ago, this is no longer a small-bore operation, as more 300 volunteers, Cathy says, descend upon a community to fix, repair, renovate, reclaim, and restore. REACH’s equipment comes a week early, but the volunteers remain on site for just the same amount of time.

See Winchester Star

Recent news on Lending Library: Cathy reached out to the congregation for donations of Christian related books. “40 books were quickly donated and filled both shelves of the small library,” Cathy said.

The word got out into the Stephens City community and gradually all the books were loaned out. “Main Street receives a lot of foot traffic and we are so excited to see that our lending library is getting used,” Cathy added.

The library has been refilled with another 40 books, this time with many donations coming from the community. The little library functions as a church neighborhood book exchange. The idea is that someone will take a book that attracts their interest and sometime later return either that book, or a totally different one. Folks who enjoy the books can keep them if they choose. “Community participation helps us to be an inviting church. You’re promoting friendliness, general well-being and community identity,” Cathy said.

If anyone would like to donate Christian books for children or adults, please drop them off at the church office on 5291 Main Street.