A Message to Supporters
Imagine a program that high school and college-aged volunteers say changed their lives and awakened their faith and their Christian call to love and serve others.
We here at Glenmary don't have to imagine—we know it as the Glenmary Group Volunteer Program at the Glenmary Farm in Lewis County, Ky.
Since 1971, the program has welcomed over 20,000 volunteers from across the United States to this Appalachia county, which is one of the poorest in the state. And next year, the volunteer model that has worked so well in Kentucky will expand to Tennessee. In 2014, Glenmary will open a new volunteer site in Grainger County in East Tennessee.
It's because of our generous donors that we are able to continue expanding our ministries to other home mission counties. Gifts made to Glenmary help ensure that all our ministries, including the volunteer program, will continue making a difference in the lives of those we serve—and in the lives of those who serve.
The weeklong, retreat-like experience of simple living (no electronic devices are permitted) affects volunteers in lasting ways. I have heard many, many stories of how the volunteer service experiences have had ripple effects in their lives because the program aims not only to broaden volunteers' understanding of the causes of poverty, oppression and injustice but also to show how life choices can impact these issues.
The motto of the Farm is "Where peace came and stayed." Jason Muhlenkamp found that peace when he arrived at the Farm as a volunteer. He also found that the "crops" consisted of a small kitchen garden and the "livestock" were two dogs and a cat! But in his first few days of service, Jason discovered he enjoyed living in an atmosphere of community and service. That discovery led him to a vocation as a Glenmary brother. He professed his First Oath in 2012.
For Collin Smith, a 1999 graduate of Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio, his time as a volunteer led to a year spent serving as a Farm manager. It was during that time he realized that he was called to be a teacher and not an engineer. Today, he teaches middle school!
It's impossible to say how many ripples of service The Farm has created. Now we hope that those same kinds of ripples will be created by the Tennessee program, with life-changing effects experienced by those who will take part in it.
The base of operations for the new program will be developed on property located in Joppa Mountain Pass in Grainger County, Tenn., which is the same county served by one of our newest missions, Blessed John Paul II. Volunteers will continue to serve the people of Lewis County, Ky., through home construction and repair, as well as participation in human service programs.
For over 40 years, Lewis County has been home to the Farm and to Glenmary's Holy Redeemer mission. The support of Glenmary donors has helped make it possible for our missioners to nurture this mission area over these four decades. And because of that support, numerous outreach ministries, including the Glenmary Farm, have been established to serve the material and spiritual needs of those living in this Appalachian region. The mature mission parish will be returned to the pastoral care of the Diocese of Covington this summer.
Nurture is the key to any successful missionary endeavor, including the development of our new volunteer program site and our new missions. For this nurturing to take place, we need the love and support of our donors, members of our Glenmary family, to help ensure we have the needed resources
Our Glenmary volunteers are heralds of the missionary need that exists in our own country. When they return home from their week of service, they share their experiences of living their faith through their work in our mission areas. Won't you join with them and us in sharing Glenmary's mission and ministry with those you know?
As always, on behalf of Glenmary and those we serve, thank you!