Small church makes big impact

3/6/2007

By Rose Mary Ward
Special to the Advocate 

Outreach to its community has become a way of life for Tilton United Methodist Church in Jayess. 

Since 1999, the Lawrence County church has operated a food pantry and a clothes closet. It now also places 911 lifelines in the homes of people with medical needs or possible life-threatening conditions.  

Shortly after Topeka and Tilton United Methodist churches merged, members saw the need for outreach ministry. Using the former Topeka UMC building, the ministry reaches approximately 1,230 families and 1,800 individuals. Last year, some 40,022 pounds of non-perishable food and canned good were distributed. 

A clothes closet known as the Tilton Lighthouse offers free or low-cost clothing to those in need. The closet also opens for people with emergency needs.  

The Topeka Outreach Ministry opens for two hours on the first three Saturdays of each month, staffed by volunteers of the church and surrounding churches. Those in need from all across Lawrence and surrounding counties come to have their needs met. 

Meanwhile, the church has begun distributing 911 lifelines. In December, the family of Ollie Mae Ward donated a 911 lifeline to the outreach ministry. Since December 11, nine 911 lifelines have been placed by Tilton UMC in the homes of people who live alone, have medical needs and other life-threatening needs. Having the 911 lifelines gives recipients a source of security to be able to live in their homes as long as possible. 

The 911 lifeline is plugged into the telephone jack with a direct line to the sheriff’s office in the county where the individual lives. A necklace with a small box is worn around the neck or kept close at hand. A button on the front of the box connects the user with a 911 emergency operator. If the operator does not get a response from the user, the operator calls emergency numbers previously provided by the user. If there is still no response, the operator sends emergency personnel to the home. 

The goal of Tilton UMC is to keep this ministry on- going and encourage other churches, clubs and individuals to help place lifelines in all needed homes in their area.  

For information about these ministries or about how to organize a 911 lifeline ministry, call the church at 601-587-4400 or Cecil Ward at 601-587-4448.