What Does a Healthy City Look Like?


Recently I was in a mission related meeting and we were asked to describe what a healthy city looks like.  Some say employment opportunities, others said good schools but one person summed it up pretty well.  “A healthy city is where people can spend family time, go to work, go to school, visit parks, and enjoy working around their own homes.  In other words people are busy doing things.” Now you can answer that question in many different ways but it is also important to remember that a healthy city takes care of those that might need a little extra help.

Over the years I have learned that O’Fallon 1st UMC is a very caring and generous congregation.  I hear Pastor Ron Dickinson challenge us many times from the pulpit that we are all missionaries which leads me to think about the scripture from Matthew 9:37 – Then He said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”  Of course this is Jesus talking to his disciples so in turn I believe Jesus is talking to us and He is telling us that there is still much to be accomplished for His Kingdom.  O’Fallon and the surrounding communities have a huge opportunity coming up in August to be missionaries and maybe for some an occasion to step out of their comfort zone. Convoy of Hope is a collaborative effort with Metro-East churches and businesses partnering to bring hope to those in need.  This one day event will be Saturday August 15 in the O’Fallon City Park and will be a daylong event.  Officials expect to host between four and six thousand Metro East residents offering those in need free groceries, haircuts, family portraits, job training advice, plus there will be a “Kid’s Zone” play area.  There will also health screening, a free lunch, plus the Veterans Administration will be on hand to assist our Veteran population.

We look at Matthew 22:36-40 and we find this passage:  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Convoy of Hope will be a day of neighbors helping neighbors.   O’Fallon 1st UMC signed up to organize and staff the Jobs and Career Services area.  We will be working out of a 40 x 60 tent plus there will be workshops in a 20 x 20 tent.  An example of the agencies committed to the Job and Career Services area include staffing agencies, colleges, GED learning centers, age 55+ job training and Veterans services. This is not a job fair nor will employers be on hand to offer jobs. The focus of this area is to provide job readiness and employ-ability advice to help people prepare to obtain employment.  There will be one-on-one assistance plus various workshops available to those that are interested.   The target population is anyone looking for ways to prepare for a job or a better job.

Convoy of Hope will need as many as 750 volunteers doing various task around the event.  In the Jobs and Career Services area alone we will need approximately 60 volunteers.   We will offer child care in our tent so we will need people that can work with children while parents visit employment experts.  We will need Roaming Ambassadors that will walk the event grounds greeting guests with a smile and introduce them to the Job & Career Services Area.  They will hand out flyers and talk to people.  We will also need a clean-up crew.  If you are interested in working in the many other event areas we can point you to the appropriate team leader.

August 15th will be a big day for O’Fallon and the Metro-East.  Churches and businesses will come together to serve one God.  Neighbors will come together to walk alone side those that need a little help right now.  If you want to be part of the great event please let one of us know – Ron Fontenot email ronbo3@prodigy.net, Jane Jung email jschoeck@ccstl.org or call Denney Cowden at 618-616-1881.

I’m reminded of this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. –

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve….You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you,

Ron Fontenot


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