Friday, March 31, 2006


Put up a new post at Rechurch, something to think about. I hope to create some conversations about the topic there.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday Spring at last

Just another normal day. Presided over a funeral, did paper work for KUO, opened the church for dance classes and Chris and I explored the neighborhood by going on a walk enjoying the 72 degree sunshine. Talked with many people. Now we are both too tired to make supper. I guess we will go hungry(no chance of that). Tonight is Survivor Night. Kind of bad to have our life planned around reality TV shows. Keep praying. Jeff

Wednesday, March 29, 2006



  • walked three laps in mall about a mile
  • cleaned house
  • made several phone calls
  • took a call from a woman in Attica who heard I was very sick(not true). She decided to call rather than spread an untrue rumor.
  • met with a family of a man that I am doing a funeral for tomorrow(My first in Kokomo).
  • led Bible Study
  • now waiting for American idol to start
Sort of slow uneventful day. Need those quiet days from time to time.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Had my normal Tuesday Breakfast with a group of friends. We always go to Panera Bread. Someone put a Panera Bread gift card on the pulpit Sunday. Will be eating for free for the next few weeks. Spoke with a pastor who is going to implement Project EAT in his neighborhood. Walked 4 laps in the mall. Returned home and read some more of my book. After lunch felt led to go to the Laundry mat to see who was there. Took all of our blankets, sleeping bags and sheets to wash them. Listened to two ladies struggling over jobs. After Laundry went to favorite restaurant for ice tea and to read some more. While at the restraunt had a call from a 20 something who read about Project Eat on the webpage and attended an event that fired him up to go into the neighborhoods. He was calling to ask if he could be the neighborhood coordinator for an area. Wow. On Saturday we had no one doing project EAT today we have three people working their neighborhood. Tonight we will watch American Idol as a family and cleaning up the house as we are having company tomorrow. Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Monday, March 27, 2006


Today was restful day. I walked 3 laps in the mall, went to a local restaurant for coffee(trying to build into the life of the employees there) and met in the afternoon with a friend. Also started a book called, Post- evangelicals, very good book. I went to the mailbox and had several checks for KUO. Very exciting and much needed. Chris and I went to the grocery store and ran into a old friend and listened as she expressed husband's health concerns. The evening was spent making dinner, watching TV with the whole family and looking to do more of the same tomorrow.
Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Today was a good day. We had 34 in worship with people being excited about having church article in the paper. I was able to recruit 4 people to pass out doorknob bags in the neighborhood this Saturday. On Saturday we change our clocks forward for the first time in 40 years, since most are not used to this. We are putting a reminder note along with a 9 volt battery in the door knob bag saying:

Just a reminder to set our clock one hour ahead tonight. It is also a good time to change the battery in your smoke detector. We want to offer you this free gift to remind you that God cars about your life, and so do we. Please remember to let us know if we can help in any way.

We signed it "the church next door" and included service times and contact information. Sunday night with the kids went better. We still need more help, but it was much better. We sent two bags of food home with the children and passed out several others. The bags not only had food but also toothbrushes, soap, toilet tissue and candy. I
also saw God do an incredible thing on Sunday Night. The four streams of Outreach for KUO are 1) making contact with neighbors through acts of kindness 2) Provide a focused ministry in a neighborhood(we have done that through Artreach and Sunday Night Outreach) 3) provide a safe place to explore Christianity 4) Organize neighbors into groups where they begin to serve their own neighborhood and reach out to under served neighborhoods in their area.

We have been able to do streams 1 and 2. However, I have been wondering how 3 and 4 would work. I thought providing a safe place to explore Christianity would be held at a certain time and place. I thought it would be a well planned event. It didn't happen that way. It was a spontaneous time after the Children's Outreach on the porch of a neighbor. A couple of others joined us and we had "church'. Maybe things are more organic and fluid than I thought. Maybe we are the water under the bridge, flowing where God would lead us.

One other thing happened today. A younger woman who live across town, asked if she could collect food in her neighborhood that would be given to KUO to be given to children on Sunday Night. I made her the Neighborhood coordinator for Project E.A.T.(Everyone Ate Today), read about it here, she will not only be collecting food but meeting neighbors.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

This article appeared in the Kokomo Tribune on Saturday. Because of this article in one day we received food to give away and a nice donation to Kokomo Urban Outreach. Tom Carey our friendly reporter, has donated what I call "agape bags" that we give out each week. He has give a bag with a can of juice, a small box of cereal and a toothbrush. He has given a bag with candy and cereal bars. One week he gave us a bag with toilet tissue and hand soap. He put together a bag with candy and candles for the children to take home to their mom on mothers day. He has also given 30 pounds of baloney, countless packs of bread. Dozens of eggs, about 100 pounds of spaghetti, and 2 dozen cans of spaghetti sauce, not to mention plastic strainers so spaghetti can be drained properly. God has been so good to us. Thanks for your support and especially the prayers. Jeff

The Church Next Door

Christ fed the multitudes with five loaves and two fishes.
The Kokomo Urban Outreach ministry
— thanks almost completely to donations
— recently fed about 40 children
grilled cheese sandwiches, chips, peaches, raw carrots and celery with ranch dressing for dipping and brownies. The total bill? About $6, or 15 cents per kid.
“Unbelievable,” said the Rev. Jeff Newton, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church. Explaining his church houses the outreach ministry, Newton professes Trinity “is endeavoring to be more than just a Sunday Morning Church ... to be a central hub in the community. “We are becoming, ‘the church next door.’”
Bit of history
The church was started in 1925 by a committee made up of people from Grace, Main Street and Beamer Methodist churches. This was done to commence a Methodist church on the city’s south side, known then as the gateway to Kokomo. In the 1960s Trinity was remodeled and an education wing added on to hold the crowds of people attending.
Outreach explained
Kokomo Urban Outreach is an interdenominational coalition of churches, faith-based organizations and individuals who have a heart for hometown missions, Newton said earlier. He said the ministry, with support o fseveral area congregations, works to make contact with neighbors, provide afocused ministry in an already established place within a neighborhood, provide safe places where people can explore the Christian faith and organize neighbors into groups where they begin to serve their own neighborhood and reach out to under served neighborhoods in their area. Sunday nights, neighborhood youth are invited to drop by Trinity for an evening that includes free dinner and — when available — free food to take home. Newton said the outreach’s first major program is Kokomo Urban Artreach, which strives to cultivate participants’ creativity, self-esteem and self-discipline. Currently guitar, art and dance classes are offered through the church, nestled next to the south-side Garden Square apartments.
Trinity’s task
Church walls should proverbially be broken down, Newton said. He said he sees Trinity working with Outreach to use the South Locke Street house of worship, “to do what Jesus would have done — bring wholeness and healing to the community.” He said he thinks area residents feel comfortable with him as he lives adjacent to the church. As such, neighbors “see me get into my car ... I talk to people as they walk down the alley.”
Those coming to the church, whether as congregants or outreach beneficiaries, learn there are no strings attached by the church or outreach. “We take people the way they are; there’s no judging.” Attend services in jeans if you like — be assured Newton and others will strive to learn your name, discover personal likes and dislikes. He also said he’s been pleased with the community’s response to the outreach programs.
Outreach well accepted
Via Artreach, nine people are receiving guitar lessons, with eight and five receiving instruction in dance and art, respectively. About 30 recipients flock to the Sunday Night Children/Youth Outreach. On Super Bowl Sunday, Newton said, Trinity members brought in cans and cans of soup. Later, someone else brought in saltines. Cans of soup, sleeves of ers and loaves of bread were sent home with youngsters a Sunday night. Soon thereafter, the outreach, operating out of the church, received and distributed 33 dozen eggs, 24 boxes of cereal and several loaves of bread.
The community’s generosity continues, the minister said, with the outreachecently getting 250 pounds of bacon, 125 full-size bags of potato chips, lots of bread and many cans of vegetables. “Stuff on a shelf helps no one,” Newton said, explaining food is distributed as
soon as possible. The Rev. Kevin Miller, associate pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church,
also is chairman of the outreach board of directors. His church is also one of many that’s supported the outreach program. Noting Trinity’s role as outreach community center, he said “it’s been very powerful to see God at work in this way. “They’ve been tremendously supportive ... opening their hearts.”
Needs noted
The pastor said the volunteer-dependent ministry needs about 25 volunteers each Sunday. Twelve table mentors eat with the children, five folks are needed in the kitchen area and more to assist as teachers. Volunteers also are needed to put together bags from food donations. But perhaps more importantly than feeding the children’s bodies is feeding their souls. “The children that are attending on Sunday night are looking for good news, and that is what we are trying to give them — good news,” Newton said.
Tom Carey may be reached
at (765) 454-8560 or via e-mail at

Monday, March 20, 2006

First Day of Spring?

Spring is finally here. Kind of. We are under a winter storm advisory and to the south of us is a winter storm warning for tonight and tomorrow. I know this winter storm will only be temporary as by Thursday or Friday all the snow will be gone and spring will start to arrive. In ministry and in life there are seasons when we go through difficult times. The past couple of weeks have been a bit more difficult than previous weeks. The church is struggling, the second service we added is fading away quickly, our financial picture is rather bleak and more members are becoming seriously ill and homebound. We quietly wonder how much longer the church will survive. At the same time last night at the Children's Sunday Night Outreach we were short handed(we only had 14 helpers it takes 25), the children were difficult. I took care of 5 kids that could not participate in their class, they could not focus. We had a kid throw up in one class, we had two older s get in a very heated yelling match and a toilet was stopped up. Pretty challenging. Like the winter weather coming our way, I know that things will be better next week. I know that this is just a season. Thank God better weather is coming. Please pray for a larger base of volunteers for Sunday Night. Our goal is to have two leaders for every 3-5 children. We also desire one leader be a male and the other a female. Thanks again for your support and prayers. Jeff

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Art Reach Pics

These pics from ArtReach appeared in todays paper with the following article by Tom Carey:
Some believers take a leap of faith. Those gathering around Meagon Parrish may simply feel the urge to cavort.
Girls dropping by Trinity United Methodist Church, 1701 S. Locke St., can savor free dance instruction from Parrish. Those dropping into the southside house of worship can also strum a
guitar or express themselves artistically.
Kokomo Urban Outreach wants to paint a prettier proverbial picture via its ArtReach program, according to the church’s Rev. Jeff Newton. Outlook on Outreach Newton previously described Kokomo Urban Outreach as a faith-based nonprofit organization that fosters community revitalization through a variety of outreach projects; an interdenominational coalition of churches, faith-based organizations and individuals who have a heart for hometown missions.
He later announced the free ArtReach program — an Outreach extension — as “a variety of free fine art classes to people of all ages, with the goal of cultivating creativity, self-esteem, and self-discipline, especially among those who would not be afforded the opportunity otherwise.”
Connect with classes Newton said three free classes are presently being offered:
• Beginning guitar, 4:30 to 5 p.m.
Mondays, fifth-grade through .
• Beginning jazz dance, 4:30 to 5:15
p.m. Thursdays, s ages 6 to 12.
• Beginning art (pencil drawing), 10
to 10:45 a.m. Saturdays for all ages.
All materials including guitars (although you may bring your own) will be provided.

Classes last six weeks at the church, nestled on the corner of Locke and Wheeler streets. To register, call (765) 461-9618 and ask for Jeff Newton or register online at
Cultivating creativity, self-esteem and self-discipline is an ArtReach goal, Newton said.
He also said the arts can teach people about issues like conflict resolution, and alcohol
abuse awareness, alternatives to , and resistance to peer pressure. “Learning through the arts has significant effects on learning in other domains,” Newton continued, such as
team-building and leadership training, broadening their view of the world and enhancing their understanding.
Piano, vocal, drama, crafts and painting are other avenues which could be explored through ArtReach, which is seeking volunteer instructors.
“I like all kinds of music,” said church neighborhood resident Sandy Marr, who’s in the guitar class taught by Jonathon Newton. She said she’s long wanted to play guitar and appreciates
the chance to learn for free. The instructor said the classes — in which attendants learn guitar basics — also can help improve their self-confidence. Parrish said learning dance, too, can
improve self-confidence and help people overcome shyness they may feel, to “help them feel good about themselves.”

Friday, March 03, 2006

Prayer is key

I am realizing more and more how important prayer is to what we are doing here. I have known that all along. However, I am learning about the wisdom, power and strength that is received through prayer. Prayer is the key that opens the door to new movements of God. I am sensing God is about to do some interesting things as we continue our adventure here in Kokomo. Please pray for the following: openness to those we serve to God, wisdom and strength for volunteers, that God would provide the needed resources to accomplish the job, and for all to be focused on Jesus.

Thanks for the prayers......Jeff