By Jim Nibbelink
In August, 2013, Conference VIM Coordinator Chris Spencer and Conference Lay Leader Jim Nibbelink traveled to New Jersey to present the congregation of First United Methodist Church of Belmar with the proceeds from Desert Southwest’s partnership effort, a total of $70,000. Since then, the people of Belmar have continued to work on their recovery. Little by little, the congregation has been able to move in a positive direction. Now, because of the Desert Southwest Conference’s help, they have an exciting announcement!
The contributions from the faithful Desert Southwest Conference members were used to design and construct an Altar and Communion table for Belmar. In November, the congregation took delivery of its beautiful new table that is not only enhancing their worship now, but also captures significant moments in the history of the congregation. The piece was designed by a local artist and contains many reminders of the history of the church and its members, including the board from the old table that was destroyed in the floods of October, 2012. This was the same board we were privileged to see during Annual Conference last year when visitors from Belmar brought it to Phoenix to use during one of the worship services. Belmar also received new chairs for their refurbished worship center, another result of the support received from our Conference. On November 24, 2013, they were finally able to worship in their sanctuary for the first time since the flood.
While progress has been made in Belmar’s recovery, the work continues and our support is still needed. The best way we can help now is by sending work teams to assist with reconstruction in the church, the parsonage, and in the homes of members who still have not been able to return home, even after a year of being displaced.