MISSIONS - Hazard, Kentucky


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Hammerin' in the Hills - Housing Development Alliance

We served from the heart with picks and shovels, loppers, chain saws, hammers and nails. Our team, Doris Bollinger, Jan Blaesing, Carolyn Piepel, Jim Gates and Robin Gates, stayed in the Presbyterian guest house, left for work at 7:30am and returned about 4:30pm each day. We fixed our breakfast, packed our lunch and ate dinner out at very southern local restaurants. The workers from the Housing development treated us well and really enjoyed sharing their stories. All the men were local and employed full time with benefits from the Alliance.

We worked in a holler digging ditches for a drain, on school grounds clearing brush, and a reclaimed coal mining hilltop, framing a new home. We had guests in the evening who shared their knowledge of the area about poverty, coal mining and the environment. What a variety all in just 5 days!
We were graciously hosted by Pastor Ellen Peach and her husband, Dave, first at Buckhorn State Park on a lovely Sunday afternoon where we hiked the Moonshine trail, and later in the week, at the Presbyterian parsonage. The parsonage is an architecturally designed home built by the congregation in hopes of keeping a pastor in Hazard more than a year. Ellen and Dave have been there 6 years. Both lived in Wenatchee and attended FUMC. Ellen is an ordained Methodist minister in our conference.

We worked through Jane Rose Britton, the volunteer and community coordinator for the Building Alliance. Because of her, we attended the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tennessee, where she worked as a volunteer. Jonesboro is the oldest town in TN. The storytelling, the historical town, quaint shops and large quilting museum were a special treat for us all!

We flew into TN and then drove 3 hours through Virginia to Kentucky, a beautiful Fall drive in the Appalachians. We were amazed at the kudzu vines which overwhelmed all the hillsides, an invasive vine introduced from Japan that has taken over the countryside.

Our mission served to connect us and the people we served. We felt blessed to be in Hazard.

The Housing Development Alliance believes that safe, decent, affordable housing is a basic human right. They have developed a variety of housing options for local individuals and families of low income, including shelter for the homeless, transitional housing, affordable rental housing and affordable new homes. As a community based non-profit, they bring together all sectors of the community to eliminate substandard housing.

Regular Worship SEPTEMBER-JUNE: 8:00am, 10:00am; Summer Worship JULY-AUGUST ONLY: 8:15am Outdoor, 10:00am Sanctuary