The Angel Tree Program, which is sponsored nationally by Prison Fellowship, is an active ministry at First United Methodist Church in Roswell. Each year, beginning at Christmastime, the Missions Committee sponsors the Angel Tree Program, and each year our church serves up to 80 children and their families through the program. This program uses volunteers to buy and deliver Christmas gifts to the children of an incarcerated parent, who then share a meal with the children and their family while receiving their Christmas gifts. During the summer months, Angel Tree children attend church camp through funds donated to the program.
Angel Tree is all about ministering to people; this program impacts the lives of the children we serve, the care giver we have contact with, and the prisoner who knows that a Christian is unconditionally giving love (by gifts and time) to his or her children. This ministry focuses on the children of prisoners. These innocent little children who did not ask to be the child of a prisoner Matthew 25: 34 through 36 states, “Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’” Many times these children of inmates are hungry, need clothes, thirst for positive and loving events in their lives, and are usually strangers to us. The members of our congregation routinely show Christian love to this needy group of children, and share and confirm their faith by participating in this program. Please join us!
FUMC supports Crossings, a scripture-based course that is designed to help prison inmates find new direction for their lives. Roswell Correction Center, 25 miles south of Roswell, hosts an active Crossings ministry. Volunteers each lead a class one night per week. These are not Bible studies, but they are carefully selected courses that can help an inmate turn his life around.
Crossings works on a 6 month cycle: 5 months of classes four nights per week, a graduation, time to regroup, and then another session. Three phases are offered, and a few inmates who have completed all three may stay in the program as Encouragers. The faithfulness of the volunteers in going every week helps to show inmates that we really care about them. In turn, volunteers get the thrill of seeing lives change as God works in them.
In the USA, statistics show that far more than half of state prison inmates return to prison after their release. New Mexico’s numbers are a little better, with a recidivism rate somewhere around 60%. But only about 2% of inmates who have completed all 3 phases of Crossings will return to prison. Truly, this is a ripe field for doing God’s work.
FUMC partners with the Roswell Affiliate of Habitat for Humanity (HFH-R). Habitat works to help families in need of decent, affordable housing. In the spring of 2013, we started work on HFH-R’s 14th house in Roswell, at 1106 East Beech.
Habitat works to provide a “Hand-Up”, not a hand-out. A partner family provides at least 250 hours of sweat equity during the construction of their home. HFH-R will let a mortgage for the cost of construction. Much of the building is done by volunteers, starting with the wood framing.
FUMC volunteers help to complete the volunteer work force for Habitat. Most of the construction is done on Saturday mornings. To help, or to see the 9 homes we have built on East Beech and the 10th one at 1106, go east on Hobbs Street, past Garden, turn south on South Beech, then go east on East Beech. You will see the home in progress.
For further information, call Mike at 575-624-217.