“Miles for Missions” in Shinnston

By Caitlin Ware

Cindy Boggs is the energy behind a community fun run that First United Methodist Shinnston sponsors in the community on July 4th weekend.

When Cindy arrived as pastor at First United Methodist Shinnston in 2013, she was told every parish had a fun run. She decided this would be a good way for parish churches to participate, and quickly began to construct the event.

The first couple of years saw few attendees…only 2-3 runners. But when she handed over the project to runners in her church, the next year saw more than 60 participants. It grew even further over the past three years.

The Shinnston Cooperative Parish sponsored the event, partnering with Modern Woodmen of America, which matches donations up to $1,500. The Parish designed a seven-year plan to send matched donations to each of the seven West Virginia Conference mission projects, with additional proceeds going to their Celebration Of Mission Event each spring. Proceeds from 2017 went to Heart and Hand House in Philippi, WV. In 2018, Scott’s Run Settlement House in Osage, WV was the beneficiary. This year’s funds went to House of the Carpenter in Wheeling, WV.

In addition to the 5K, the parish now hosts a block party with carnival games for kids so that parents are able to participate in the run. This year’s “Miles for Missions 5K” had almost 100 runners and raised nearly an additional $1,500.

Cindy said that First United Methodist Shinnston has become more involved in the community. “We are in our 6th year of hosting the ‘Miles for Missions 5K,’ and it has gotten us more involved in community outreach,” she stated.

The church also started a program called “Get to Know Your Neighbor” as a way to meet people in the area. “We set a tent up outside the parsonage, hand out food and pray with people,” Cindy said. “We have done this once a month now for three years. Anybody can do it. Just set up a table and be hospitable. We have seen different people each month. One lady asked us, ‘Why do you do this?’ and we responded, ‘We want you to know that God loves you and we’re here for you.’”

Mon Valley District Superintendent Amy Shanholtzer praised the project. “It’s a cool story of partnership and community building,” she said. “This is something other small churches and/or parishes would find doable.”

For more information on the program you can visit First United Methodist Shinnston on Facebook.