Assembly 2014

Ubuntu Day of Service at Assembly 2014

Ubuntu Day of Service at Assembly 2014
Kay Dodd of Canton, Mo., plays with a young girl at St. Benedict Center for Early Childhood Education in Louisville.

More than 600 United Methodist Women members and friends got acquainted with neighbors in Louisville, Ky., during the pre-Assembly Ubuntu Day of Service, April 24. At almost 40 sites throughout the Louisville area, including two in Indiana, Ubuntu participants gardened, sorted, served, landscaped, cleaned, painted and organized, and most important, they learned about the local community.

The day began with an orientation, followed by a worship service and commissioning.

“Today is not about you,” said Marva Usher-Kerr, United Methodist Women executive for membership, as she addressed the volunteers. “It is about service.”

Ubuntu is a Zulu/Xhosa word for an African philosophy built on respect for humanity. It captures the concept “I am human because you are human.” I am because you are. This understanding of mutuality forms the base of an Ubuntu Day of Service in which participants not only serve but learn about systemic injustices that cause the need for service. It’s a day of mission focused on relationships and shared experiences.

“Ubuntu captures the essence of being in mission, whereas a day of service tends to be more ‘doing’ mission,” said Barbara Dugger, Program Advisory Group member and on-site liaison for the Ubuntu Day. “Ubuntu allows us to connect with the communities we are serving. When we work in the community, we’re putting feet to our Purpose as we build relationships.”

After the commissioning, volunteers boarded buses and traveled to community centers, churches, child care centers, parks and food pantries to help as needed and to learn more about one another and the folks of Louisville. With a break for lunch, volunteers worked throughout the morning and afternoon and returned the Kentucky International Convention Center to share stories, reflect on their experiences and close the day in worship. 

Tara Barnes is managing editor of response.

Posted or updated: 4/23/2014 11:00:00 PM
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