The COVID-19 pandemic has caused churches to reexamine how ministry can be done in their communities while social distancing protocols are in place. A handful of churches in the Lafayette area thought outside the box to coordinate a “Hometown Mission Trip” for youth and adults.

Participants included junior and senior high school youth, pastors, college students, and adult volunteers from Lafayette Grace UMC, West Lafayette First UMC, Brown Street UMC, and the Wesley Foundation at Purdue University. Each day included a devotion, social time, snacks/meals, worship, and work on projects central to the ministry of that day’s host site.

Work projects included:

  • Mulching and outdoor work at West Lafayette First UMC
  • Gardening, painting, and neighborhood survey work at Brown Street UMC
  • Improvement of Grace Woods and the Grace Daycare playground at Lafayette Grace UMC
  • Painting and landscaping at the Wesley Foundation
  • Repairing roofs at Pine Creek Camp

COVID precautions were practiced at every turn by ensuring people were adhering to 2 out of 3 rules at all times (being outside, wearing a mask, being six feet apart).

The Hometown Mission Trip, inspired by Pastor Glen Robyne at the Wesley Foundation at Purdue University, was planned by the pastors from the participating churches, students at the Wesley Foundation, and staff at Pine Creek Camp.

Reverend Janelle Ohlemiller, Associate Pastor at Grace UMC, remarked, “I have been so encouraged by the creativity and ‘dream big’ mindset of our collaborators, and I hope others will be too. COVID does make these kinds of things hard, but we can do hard things, because of Jesus!”