Covenant United Methodist Church

Changing Lives with Jesus

Covenant ASP News

This is 34th year that Covenant church has participated in the Appalachia Service Project. In impressive fact in and of itself. And before I go any further, I would like to thank the people of Covenant church and the surrounding communities for your unending and generous support, without which ASP could never have thrived as it has. Yes, every summer for the past 34 years, volunteers from Covenant and our community have ventured into Central Appalachia to, as you often hear us say, make homes warmer safer and drier. Each summer we spend a week helping to repair homes for families who live there. We continue this effort each year because the need persists.

Last Sunday, our team of volunteers sat in the sanctuary of Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrisonburg Virginia for their 8:30 am worship service.  Their associate Pastor, Bob Talbott, started on his sermon “A Different kind of Pep Talk” with scripture readings which included Matthew 10:verse 16.  “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” As he repeated the first part, “I am sending you out like sheep...”, a tingling shot up and down my spine.  I was amazed.  Almost in disbelief.  I felt like yelling “This is awesome!”.

On the first day of summer - June 22nd, 2013, the Covenant ASP team left Springfield for Tazewell County, Virginia to participate in the Appalachia Service Project.   This is our yearly effort to help “eradicate substandard housing in Central Appalachia and equip and inspire lives of Christian service”.  This is also ASP's vision.  And this was the 32nd year that a group of volunteers from Covenant has endeavored to do just that.  32 years.   That's a long time.   Why do we keep going?

On June 23rd, 28 volunteers jumped in five vans and started on a journey to Tennessee where they would spend a week helping people very much in need. This was the Covenant Appalachia Service Project team doing what they do best. We would like to share with you some reflections of this journey that opened eyes and brought hope to some who need it most.

 

About ASP

Appalachia Service Project (ASP) is a Christian ministry, open to all people, that fosters human development by addressing the housing needs of Central Appalachia. Each year Covenant joins more than 17,000 other volunteers to repair homes for almost 600 low-income families in rural areas of Central Appalachia.  Our goal is to make homes warmer, safer and drier for families in need, while offering transformational experiences for families, volunteers and staff alike.

The majority of our volunteers are high school aged youth who perform most of the repairs themselves under the watchful eyes and guidance of adult leaders during our summer program.  It is truly amazing what their willing hearts and hands can accomplish. Since 1969, more than 300,000 volunteers from across the nation have repaired over 15,000 homes and, in the process, Appalachian families, volunteers, and staff have been immeasurably blessed.

ASP is more than just a home repair program. Through this process of service many lives are changed, those of the families being served, the volunteers serving, and the staff facilitating the process. Often the experience serves to enlighten everyone that the differences between us are only perceived — deep down we all want to be loved, to belong, to own something, and to create something worthwhile — no matter where we live, our economic status, education, or ethnic identity. No one walks away from the ASP experience unchanged — not families served, volunteers, or staff.

ASP: Statement of Values

  • We believe that each person is a child of God imbued with dignity and worth.
  • We accept people right where they are and just the way they are.
  • We believe that affordable, safe, sanitary housing is a basic human right.
  • We are committed to witness through the good quality of our work and careful stewardship of our resources.
  • We believe God calls volunteers to serve others as partners in ministry and we will encourage their growth in faith as they are involved in this service.
  • We believe where ASP is involved in local communities we will encourage, affirm, and support social and economic justice.

Stats: ASP Service Area

ASP serves about 30 communities in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina where poverty is more than double the national average.

  • One in four live below the poverty level -- 105,000 children, 195,000 adults, and 35,000 elderly.
  • 62,500 homes are substandard.
  • 19,000 homes lack adequate kitchens.
  • 21,000 homes lack complete plumbing.
  • Nearly half of the families have annual household incomes below $20,000.
  • The need is so great, ASP is only able to help one in five families who apply for help.

The more people who volunteer, the more families ASP can help.

How did we get here?: ASP History

Appalachia Service Project was once a dream in the heart of Reverend Glenn "Tex" Evans. During his 13 years as director at Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky, Tex witnessed the great need for home repair assistance. He envisioned a way to meet this need by matching high school youth groups with families in need. By transforming Christian faith into action, ASP - the ministry he founded - helped to alleviate poverty's consequences while encouraging growth in Christian faith and stewardship.

In 1969, the Appalachia Service Project's inaugural summer, 50 volunteers came to Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, and repaired 4 homes.

The ASP philosophy of service has remained the same since 1969.  ASP encourages people to act responsibly in the face of human need and injustice. By transforming faith into ASP service, volunteers respond to a specific need - housing. Their commitment to serve really is a contract with God. By putting aside their own needs and desires, ASP volunteers free themselves to share talent, love, and concern with the people of Appalachia and with one another. More important than construction know-how is a willingness to enter communities and homes of central Appalachia with sensitivity, concern, and love - accepting people right where they are and just the way they are.

Covenant United Methodist Church first participated in ASP in 1982. We have been going ever since, continually looking for and finding the reasons for, and value of, turning faith into action by giving of ourselves as Jesus taught.

For more about ASP, visit their website at www.asphome.org

To find out more about the Covenant ASP Team, contact Greg Corner at greg.corner@covumc.com.

ASP - What's it to me?

Curious?

What is ASP?

And what could it mean to me?

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ASP Bike Hike & Fun Run


The ASP team wants you to take a hike!


ASP Giant Card

Giant Card
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Help ASP while you shop!


Upcoming ASP Events

from the ASP Calendar