Individual Volunteer Orientation in New Orleans, March 22-25, 2007
Front Row L-R: Danielle St. Clair, Roger Boe, Walt Whitehurst, Bill St. Clair, Zoe Norcross, Joe Elenbaas, Jeff Melick, Chuck Hebel, Peggy Blackburn, Ann Fort, Larry Norman. Second Row L-R: Laura Cortez, Barbara Stone, Chris McLain, Lois Babcock, Claire Kendig, Adrienne Lamar, Brian Steele, Alison Hendley, Donna Patterson, Jeanie Blankenbaker. Back Row L-R: Wayne Babcock, Virginia Malone, Vick Starostka, Clint Rabb, Cathy Starostka, Jarod Osborne.
Barbara, Jeff and Jarod chatting
The training was led by Jeanie Blankenbaker, Consultant for Global Ministries, with additional leadership provided by Rev. Clint Rabb, Assistant General Secretary for
Mission Volunteers; Rev. Walt Whitehurst, former Individual Volunteers (IV) consultant; Dr. Roger Boe, IV Medical Consultant; Barbara Stone, SEJ UMVIM Coordinator; and Larry Norman, Louisiana Conference UMVIM Coordinator.
Others who made presentations were the Rev. Connie Thomas, LA Storm Center Volunteer Coordinator; Rev. Chris Bowers, MS Storm Relief Volunteer Coordinator; and John Paul McGuire, Volunteer Coordinator at Dulac Community Center, LA.
Larry Norman interviewing
Individual Volunteers are those persons who feel called to serve in an approved location two months or longer. Orientation and Training for all candidates run from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning - including late night sessions Friday and Saturday. Topics include the theology of mission, Bible study, cultural awareness/sensitivity, practical tips for mission preparation, health, travel and safety issues, Safe Sanctuaries training and one-on-one interviews with staff members.
Visiting the Ninth Ward
Part of Saturday afternoon, the Louisiana Conference Storm Center hosted the group with a tour of several parts of hurricane/flood damaged New Orleans, including the Ninth Ward. The group was shocked at seeing the actual size of the total flood area and now fully understand why it will take 8 to 12 years or more for New Orleans to rebuild. Volunteers will be needed for a long time to come!
The group was housed and met at St. Mark's United Methodist Church. Built in 1909, St. Mark's UMC is a historic church located on the edge of New Orlean's French Quarter. Connected to the church is a community center that boasts an indoor swimming pool, an upstairs gym, and multiple classrooms used for after school programs. Hurricane Katrina caused flooding on the lower levels and the church and community center were closed for some time.
With the help of the General Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Volunteers In Mission, the building is in the process of being renovated and currently serves as lodging for UMVIM teams coming to assist in storm recovery. Sunday worship services in the chapel have resumed, followed by lunch provided for the homeless. You may read more about St. Mark's UMC at http://www.iscuo.org/no_stmarks.htm.
The Individual Volunteers will serve in various locations around the world including hurricane recovery sites in Louisiana, the Republic of Georgia, Bolivia, Africa University in Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Uganda.
Posted March 30, 2007