Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

Mission Spotlight for October 2018 — Tennessee Higher Education Initiative

For the past several months, the Martha Circle of the United Methodist Women has been supporting the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative with school supplies and monetary donations.  Recently, a THEI board member spoke with the United Methodist Men at their regular meeting, providing information so the United Methodist Men might decide whether this is a mission they might also support.

So what is the Tennessee Higher Education Initiative?  It’s a program connecting a higher education institution with a prison population to provide educational opportunities for incarcerated men to earn an associate’s degree.  In West Tennessee, faculty from Dyersburg State Community College travel to Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville to offer two evening courses per semester leading to an A.S. in Business Administration from DSCC.  Each applicant to the program must meet college entrance requirements, pay a $25 fee per semester from their own money, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and keep a clean disciplinary record.  Cohorts of 25 students are carefully selected according to these criteria.   In addition, students continue to work full-time during the day while incarcerated.

There are many reasons to support prison education.   One primary reason is to reduce the likelihood of a man returning to prison after being released.   Statistically, nearly 50% of those released will return to prison in three years.  That percentage is reduced drastically for men who complete some post-secondary education.   If you are interested in providing school supplies for these men, here is a list of items that are needed:

  • Legal Pads
  • Pocket Folders
  • Expanding Files
  • Highlighters
  • Calculators (regular or graphing)
  • Printer Paper
  • Sticky Notes
  • Post-it-Flags
  • Composition Notebooks
  • Pens (No Click Tops)

Remember – they can only accept specific supplies listed as these have been approved for use in the prison. You may talk to Cindy Wagster, co-chair of the Martha Circle, for more information.

Haiti Missions Trip:

Aldersgate has sent members of the congregation to serve on a mission team with LiveBeyond, which is a faith-based humanitarian organization providing medical services and hope for the future for the oppressed people in remote areas of Haiti.

Reelfoot Rural Missions:

Aldersgate supports Reelfoot Rural Ministries through Christmas, back-to-school collections and single day mission trips throughout the year.

RIFA Soup Kitchen:

Every 4th Thursday of each month Aldersgate provides a devotional, and prepares and serves an evening meal at RIFA’s Soup Kitchen. The Soup Kitchen provides hot meals to those in need 365 days a year. There is no charge for the meal, and no one is turned away.

Arise2Read Jackson:

Arise2Read Jackson is a new mission in partnership with Jackson-Madison County Schools to provide tutors to assigned 2nd Grade students.

Friendship Group:

Friendship Group is a fellowship and nurturing program for the local special needs population. They meet once per month for programming, fellowship and prayer.

Just Desserts:

This outreach provides desserts once per month to RIFA’s soup kitchen.

Connectional Giving through our Tithes and Offerings:

A portion of our tithes and offerings are allocated to the United Methodist Church’s missions programs. These programs range from support to global (Africa University and new church development) to local (Reelfoot Rural Missions, Hannah’s Hope, and Lakeshore United Methodist Assembly).

Support to Ministries through Special Collections:

UMCOR: One Great Hour of Sharing
Hannah’s Hope: Pregnancy and adoption counseling
Imagine No Malaria: UMC Conference initiative to eradicate malaria in Africa
Giving Tuesday (December): Donations to foreign missionary
Birth Choice Crisis Pregnancy Center

Team Leader
Jan Matthews

Keep in touch