Day of Service 2022: Building Bridges, Making Connections

By Audrey Stanton-Smith

Members of Lakeview UMC filled their pockets with quarters before heading to the laundromat at Saint Albans.

“We had great interactions with people that we might not otherwise have met,” Rev. Kerry Bart said.

Bill Eades and others from Southern District churches organized baby clothes for newborns at Mary’s Cradle in Bluefield.

“It really was a lot of fun,” Eades said of volunteering alongside members of his own Beckley Community Church and others to help the community.

Paying for laundry and preparing clothes for in-need newborns were just two of the many ways volunteers throughout the West Virginia Area rolled up their sleeves for the 2022 Annual Conference Day of Service.

Others cleaned outreach centers, organized food pantries and clothing closets, filled backpacks, sorted flood buckets, made chemo blankets, delivered furniture, built ramps, repaired roofs, held prayer walks, worked with the visually impaired, hosted family dances and block parties, and even provided training to equip community members to save lives with Naloxone. 

The first-ever WVUMC Day of Service event took place Thursday, June 9. Dozens of churches across the West Virginia conference participated, including many who opted to participate in the days leading up to Annual Conference at Buckhannon. The work of each participating church, district or mission project, was recognized during a series of live broadcasts organized from the chapel of West Virginia Wesleyan College with on-location reports delivered via Zoom. (Watch the three day of service broadcasts here:

“The theme of this year’s Annual Conference is ‘Building Bridges, Making Connections,’ ” explained Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball. “Congregations in the time of Covid have been more internally focused. This is an opportunity to remind the churches that they are in service to the community and to the world.”

“The whole purpose is to reach those who are not yet connected, to connect them with the saving love and power of Jesus Christ,” the bishop continued. “It’s about intentionally getting back out into the community and opening our eyes to the people who are living all around us. … Ask questions about what the needs of the community are. Ask questions of our neighbors and uncover or discover the needs of the community and then be able to have conversations about how the church can then be connected in ways that both meet the needs and bring the power of Jesus Christ in the midst of the community so that together, coming out of Covid, we can be transformed in ways that really help us respect and love the whole community.”

Conference Program Committee Chair Rev. Krysta Rexrode Wolfe called the program — coordinated by George Hohmann and Rev. George Webb — a tremendous success, and she’s hopeful such projects will continue on a regular basis.

“The intention was to equip and even encourage churches not just to do a service project — not just a one and done event — but to really equip people to be in mission that is fostering long-term relationships with their community,” Wolfe said.

For more information, including some suggestions for bridge building events and activities in your community and a map of service sites throughout the Conference, visit the Day of Service web page. You may learn about specific sites and projects by searching  #WVUMCserve on Facebook. 

Watch a montage of pictures from Day of Service Events across the West Virginia Conference: