Caring Networks

The church community is divided into thirteen geographical neighborhoods with between twenty and thirty family units for the purpose of providing support and care to someone in the congregation who has a short-term need. This has most often consisted of providing meals, rides, babysitting, or grocery shopping when there is an illness in the family or someone is grieving. Each network has a coordinator. At times the networks are used for fellowship and planning. They are used to acquaint people with a new pastor or, as in the Fall of 2007, to do some strategic planning about the church’s mission, activities, and worship in the years ahead.

Christian Education Commission

The Christian Education Commission works with the Director of Christian Education to oversee all aspects of Christian Education from infants to adults. We also work closely with the Pastors and laity to develop and implement ideas for dynamic and innovative formational programs for all ages, including all Church School activities, Youth programming, CornerStones (adult education programming), the SUMC Library, Advent and Lenten workshops and the Christmas Pageant. Our volunteer Nursery and teaching team have up-to-date CORI’s on file per our Safe Sanctuaries Policy. The Christian Education Program page contains a detailed description of all SUMC Christian Education programs.

Church Growth Commission

The Church Growth Commission seeks ways to attract and make welcome newcomers to the SUMC congregation. They have initiated and staff an “Information and Welcome Station” for visitors to the Sunday service. Commission members also send postcards to and telephone newcomers. A quarterly reception on Sunday morning after the service is organized to further acquaint newcomers with the church. This is an opportunity to meet the pastors and some lay people and to ask questions. In addition, developing public awareness of SUMC in the community is carried out by this commission through publicity in the newspapers, development of an attractive website, and the production of cards and brochures about the church.

Health Ministry

Broadly defined a Health Ministry is anything a faith community is doing to promote the well-being of its membership and the community in general. The purpose of the Health Ministry at SUMC is to help the congregation care for one another. Through programs and activities, this group helps to promote the spiritual, social, mental and physical well-being of the individual, congregation, and community. Some of the groups already doing this at SUMC are Stephen Ministry, the Caring Network, and support groups.

Using Jesus’ ministry as a model and following the tradition of John Wesley, the Health Ministry group at SUMC seeks to promote the wholistic well-being of this community of faith. Issues of health are basic to all people. We struggle with illness, stress, injuries, and loss.

There are many ways to do health ministries. Each congregation is unique and has its own set of resources and needs. Examples of health ministries include visitation of the sick, worship and prayer, educational programs on specific health issues, a food pantry, and help for the homeless. Congregations are almost always already engaged in health ministry, whether they call it that or not. The point of a health emphasis at SUMC is to make explicitly the link between the commitments of a religious tradition, the activities of the congregation, and the way this relates to people’s overall well-being.

This is a fairly new group at SUMC. Recent activities sponsored by Health Ministry include making Prayer Shawls to be given to those needing comfort and a support group for those with or dealing with people with physical and mental health issues. A walking club and programs on health issues are being considered for the future.

Recognizing the importance of addressing the needs of the people to be served, the Health Ministry group intends to distribute a questionnaire asking congregation members to help identify their needs and concerns to help guide them in developing appropriate activities and programs.

Lenten Suppers and Worship/Program

During Wednesdays in Lent, the church Commissions take turns preparing and serving delicious soups and bread for a simple supper held at the church and followed by a worship service or other appropriate program, often lay-organized.

Magic Years

This is a group of people age 55 and above who meet monthly for lunch and a program. The Minister of Visitation is a mentor to this group, but lay people plan the programs with feedback from the group and help with the lunch. Activities include speakers, short videos, singing, sharing of travel, etc.

Membership and Community Life Commission

The purpose of the Membership and Community Life Commission is to develop programs and provide fellowship opportunities to integrate new members into the church and to nurture those who attend the church regularly. The Commission members oversee aspects of the church’s life which have to do with greeting and hospitality such as Coffee Hour, arranging for Sunday greeters, and providing support for new member classes. The Commission organizes an annual Fellowship dinner for groups of 8 to 10 people in member homes. Ideas for other fellowship events are discussed and welcomed. The Membership and Community Life Commission also publishes the members’ Photo Directory.

Groups that operate separately but are under the umbrella of the Membership and Community Life Commission are the Annual Church Retreat, Caring Networks, and Magic Years.

pointOutreach Commission

The Outreach Commission supports the mission work of the church. Decisions on which programs to endorse are guided by the three F’s:

  • Focus – What is the project’s purpose and need?
  • Fishers – Will the project help others to help themselves?
  • Face – Is there a personal connection with members of our church?

Outreach aids projects on a global, regional and local basis. Support for organizations that fight hunger and homelessness represent approximately two thirds of the budget.

In 2008, SUMC became closely involved with the preparation and building of a Habitant for Humanity home in Sudbury. As in past years, the church collected food for Greenwood UMC’s Thanksgiving baskets. We also purchased Christmas wreaths from the Maine Economic Ministry, giving all proceeds for their sales back to that organization. At Christmas the church provided gifts to children in local shelters. The church’s biggest mission project of the year was the Youth Group’s trip to Dominica to build a wall around the school. MORE

SUMC also has on-going monthly projects. The Outreach Commission sponsors “Muffins for Mission” and sells bran muffins during Coffee Hour. All income goes directly to mission programs. A group from the church takes a lasagna dinner with salad and dessert into Rosie’s Place, a woman’s shelter in Boston, one day a month. The third Sunday of every month church members prepare and serve dinner for Crossroads, a local Men’s shelter in Framingham.

The church addresses global needs by supporting a missionary couple, David and Lori Persons, in the Congo, Africa as well as a Nicaraguan children’s charity effort, NITCA, and missionary work in Nicaragua by Belinda Forbes. The church also contributes to disaster relief and world hunger through UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Its mission is to alleviate human suffering, whether by war, conflict or natural disasters, with open minds and hearts to all people.

Locally and regionally, the church endorses Habitat for Humanity, Maine Economic Ministry, Greenwood UMC, Crossroads, Sudbury/Marlboro/Hudson Food Pantry, Preacher’s Aid Society and other organizations.

The Outreach Commission aids the work teams the church sends out. Each year the youth go on a work team. In 2006, they went to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota to repair homes and in 2007 to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors project of the Down East Maine Missions in East Machias, Maine to roof and paint homes and build a handicap ramp. During 2008, they took their second trip to Dominica to continue the relationship that was established with their first trip in 2005.

Social Justice

The Social Justice Commission seeks to bring to all believers an awareness of public issues that impede the dignity of some of God’s children. The group advocates for “the least of these” by encouraging all to examine their faith and asks themselves “what would Jesus do?” The purpose of this group is to help others become aware of injustices faced by others and become emboldened to help change happen. MORE

Fulfilling the mission of our Social Justice Commission is difficult and challenging. We have continued with our advocacy for Bread for the World and an end to homelessness. World AIDS day focused on a need to support the Orphans of AIDS Ministry in Sierra Leone. Through the generous donations of members of the congregation, SUMC provided the amount needed for Reverend Brima to purchase the land to build a new orphanage.

SUMC will be celebrating the 5th anniversary of becoming a Welcoming and Reconciling congregation with a special speaker and program.

In the spring we will once again celebrate Earth Day with ideas on how to be better stewards of God’s creation.

Staff Parish Relations Committee

This group of nine members provides a structure of support to the clergy and staff of the church. Each member of the committee is a liaison with one member of the staff to provide support, serve as a sounding board, and be a participant in the evaluation progress. The committee developed an Employee Handbook which includes job descriptions and a formal evaluation process for non-appointed staff.

Stephen Ministers

Stephen Ministers are lay people who have taken 50 hours of special training to prepare them to provide one to one caring, Christian ministry to those going through a time of need. Stephen Ministers are assigned by the pastors to be that “supportive presence” and “listening ear” for those going through difficult times or crises in their lives. Such situations might include illness, divorce, death of a loved one, troubled relationships with a child or spouse, aging parents, or loss of a job. Sudbury United Methodist Church has been a Stephen Ministry Congregation since 1992.

Stewardship and Finance Commission

This Commission plans and carries out the annual pledge campaign to raise income for the church budget each Fall. Members work with the other church commissions in December to prepare a balanced operating budget for the next year, one that is in line with expected income. The financial secretaries, church treasurer, audit committee, and counters fall under the umbrella of the Stewardship and Finance Commission.

Sunny Hill PreSchool

Sunny Hill is a non-profit preschool sponsored by the Sudbury United Methodist Church. A committee comprised of church members works with the Director to oversee the school operations. While the church sponsors the school, religion is not part of the school’s curriculum. Sunny Hill is licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care and accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs of the NAEYC. Sunny Hill teaches “academics through purposeful play”. Experienced, educated teachers offer a play-based program that combines preparation for kindergarten with an emphasis on a child’s social and emotional development. MORE

Trustees

The nine members of the Board of Trustees are concerned with the maintenance of the church’s total physical plant and holding to the budget voted by the church council for doing so. This work includes both keeping things operating today and planning for facility needs for tomorrow. With the sanctuary complex and two residential parsonages, there is always plenty to do. Whenever feasible, the trustees seek to have work done by volunteers; but outside contractors are routinely required for skilled jobs. Projects come in all scopes from major renovations to touch-up painting and the routine spring and fall clean-ups.

Worship & Music Commission

The Worship and Music Commission works with, assists, and supports the pastors and the professional music staff (Director of Music and Organist, the Choir Director) to ensure that Sudbury United Methodist Church provides worship opportunities and music that meet the spiritual development of the congregation both as individuals and as a community of faith. These activities may vary from time to time as needs of the congregation change. Under the umbrella of this Commission are the Ushers, Flower Committee, and Communion Stewards.

Recently the Commission has exercised its responsibilities in the following ways:

  • Helping Staff Parish write job descriptions and recruit and screen applicants for the professional music staff.

  • Working with the pastoral and music staff to provide feedback about the weekly worship services.

  • Recruiting and training lay liturgists.

  • Ensuring an adequate supply of hymnals and Bibles in the pews.

  • Working with the pastors and music staff to initiate and develop new opportunities for worship (e.g., a Saturday evening service)

  • Working with the pastors and music staff to arrange and coordinate special worship and music opportunities such as the Barn Sing during Advent; Lenten Soup Suppers and Worship; summer picnics and worship; choir concerts and hymn sings; joint worship with Greenwood Memorial UMC in Dorchester; and cluster, district or Conference Worship Events.

  • Providing snacks and refreshments for the Choir and ministerial staff at special worship services on Christmas Eve and Easter.

  • Working with the professional music staff to organize and maintain the church’s music library and working with the Ushers to maintain the Tape Ministry that provides audio tapes of the weekly Sunday worship.

  • Ensuring that the choir robes are cleaned periodically and in good condition.

  • Supporting the music staff with maintenance of the church’s organs, pianos, and other church-owned musical instruments.

  • Working with Trustees to develop the sound amplification and recording system in the sanctuary.

  • Planning and implementing new ways to extend SUMC worship and music activities in the congregation and community.

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