A MOMENT FOR MISSION
“May God give strength to God’s people! May God bless the people with peace!”
--Psalm 29:11, An Inclusive-Language Lectionary
“I believe in giving back to the community,” said Dr. Al assad Rasheed, community wellness director for Better Community Development (BCD), a social outreach ministry of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church, Little Rock, Ark.
For 10 years, Rasheed has educated the community about chronic diseases including diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart and lung disease. Recently, he collaborated with BCD to develop the Community Wellness Program, a coalition of health, faith-based and grassroots organizations. First on his agenda is a community wellness study where he will divide Little Rock into sectors to determine resources available to residents, such as walking trails, fitness centers and grocery stores.
“If a community does not have a place where they can get fresh fruit and veggies, then that's something that we can talk to the mayor about,” said Rasheed.
He believes a lack of resources and education are the root causes of chronic disease, especially in poor and minority communities. Rasheed also blames a long tradition of poor eating habits.
“This is the way we grew up,” he said. “My mother makes some of the best fried chicken, but you know now I'll only eat one serving of fried food a month because I know it's unhealthy for me.”
Supported by the annual Human Relations Day offering, the community developer program traces its roots to Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church, which continues to reach out to its neighbors today.
--Adapted from the BCD, Inc. online newsletter, Oct. 28, 2011
Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you. Amen.
--“Jesu, Jesu,” #432, The United Methodist Hymnal
“Everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve,” said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Better Community Development, (BCD), a social outreach ministry of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church, Little Rock, Ark., is putting that philosophy into action.
Recently, BCD teamed up with United Methodist-related Philander Smith College — also in Little Rock — to offer the Religious Life Service Learning Internship. The internship, which takes place in a non-profit or religious setting, helps students to determine their vocation in the church. Interns explore questions of value, faith, meaning and vocation.
Supported by the annual Human Relations Day offering, the community developer program traces its roots to Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church, which continues to reach out to its neighbors today. When we give to this special offering, we share “hearts full of grace.”