Welcome to CCX,
The Missional On-Line Magazine!
We are excited to hear encouraging feedback for this new venture in communicating the ups and downs of life and ministry in McDowell County. We sincerely value your thoughts and appreciate any ideas you might share with us! Our goal remains to highlight what God is doing here and to showcase those who are making a difference here at home in McDowell County.
This month we are sharing some stories that exemplify the reasons we love serving our community. The dream of a Cafe, a neighborhood block party, and our spotlight on Kathie Whitt all illustrate the power of collaboration to reverse the catastrophic decline experienced here in McDowell County. As we reflect on our beginnings 16 years ago working with many others on flood relief, addressing the ongoing need for attention to physical and spiritual well-being, and the current efforts to stimulate sustainable economic growth in the county, we praise God for the many opportunities He has given us to serve here.
McDowell County has continously attracted national attention for its dismal health and economic metrics reported repeatedly over the past couple decades. However, we believe God promises good for the people of McDowell County: 'For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.' Jer 29:11-13
As you read the articles and pray for each person, please consider what part God has for you to play. May God bless you for your care, love, and generosity.
The Staff of CCX, The On-Line Magazine
A Petting Zoo was set up behind Goodson's Supermarket one afternoon for kids and
families to enjoy!
PAT Parent Appreciation Café is a Parents As Teachers group connection that gave parents a time to share information, tips
and supportive encouragement with
each other. Parenting is a journey
that is much easier when we
have a strong positive
to help us!
Our staff are challenged to examine perseverance as one of the greatest skills but also the hardest lessons we will learn in our lifetime. Ruth portrays five life-giving habits that help us to persevere when things get hard, complicated, and messy. But these habits do more than just motivate, they help us to fight when resistance arises. They teach us to pursue discipline and the desire to determine our daily direction. These habits show how success is not achieved by pursuing temporary desires and far less about to-do lists and accomplishments. We need to focus on becoming people who are obedient and fully surrendered to God.
A small group of local women and CCX staff have spent the last two months seeking to be a “Woman Who Doesn’t Quit” in a weekly bible study.
Everyone of us, no matter where we are, wants to be loved and included, to be part of something: a family, a neighborhood, a community. This innate desire in us comes directly from our Creator, and HIS desire to have a relationship with us. This is very important to us at CCX and is always on our minds. For some time we have envisioned organizing a block party to bring our neighbors together. After a couple months of planning and canvassing our neighbors for interest and ideas, we set a date and spread the word. We were so encouraged by the enthusiastic responses from more than a dozen households. Several expressed to us their own dream to have a block party. After the event, Lesa Wilson sat down with one of her neighbors to hear her take on why the block party this year was meaningful to her.
Rae Ann Cline is originally from Pennsylvania and was a teacher in McDowell County for many years. She expressed her view that years ago, an average neighborhood was a very different picture than what we see today in America. Neighbors were a secondary family, sharing and caring for each other. Parents would discipline their neighbors' kids as their own and it would be appreciated! Children grew to respect adults and authority figures in early years.
In so many ways it truly demonstrated that it takes a village to raise a child, and that is seriously lacking today.
These days we see individuals who move all around, never getting to know people in their own neighborhood, and some who even live and die on the same street, knowing no one who lives there. We hope to change that in our own "village" here. The first Maple Avenue block party was truly a wonderful event. More than 30 people came and everyone brought delicious food to share to accompany the grilled burgers and hot dogs. Memories were made because it rained and hailed, and still many stayed well into the evening. There were games, conversation, and an outdoor movie showing of Pixar's Ratatouille!
In reflection, hope and anticipation for more events like this is unanimous. Perhaps in doing so, we may begin to renew a valuable facet of society that has been lost in our current generation, and strengthen community one neighborhood block party at a time!
A Dream Dawning
Since very early in the history of CCX one recurring dream has surfaced for many of the staff and volunteers who have been a part of brainstorming sessions for serving this community. We all want to see a Café open in Welch that serves coffee, healthy foods, and opportunity for conversation and relationships. We have discussed this time and time again, and we continue to pray and wait on God to pave the way if this is His will. When the Roadside Community Market began Lesa Wilson and Donna Ludwinski jumped on setting up a shop to sell coffee and homemade bread. After some consideration they agreed to use it as a fundraiser for CCX. Little did we know this would open up so many possibilities!
The Roadside Market effort led by Joel McKinney quickly became an ideal outlet for meeting local entrepreneurs and exploring ideas for encouraging them and providing resources. We are excited about the potential for partnerships with other local organizations and individuals with similar goals. This was what we always hoped for, to stimulate conversation about the future of McDowell and to learn from the past. Our dream for a "third place" realized in the county includes our hope for a storefront to expand on this vision. In addition to a meeting place for individuals, it would also serve as a way to create jobs for locals. As for right now, we are truly enjoying testing the waters slowly. We appreciate the enthusiasm thus far for our special coffees and baked goods, and are eager to learn what our community needs and wants and see how God leads in this effort!
Check out more of Sherrie's fantastic work on Facebook!
In 2001 and 2002, only 10 months apart, McDowell County suffered the devastating effects of two back-to-back "Hundred Year Floods." Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed and dozens of lives lost. We recently reflected on this experience with Kathie Whitt, Executive Director of FACES (Families, Agencies, Children Enhancing Services), the Family Resource Network agency in McDowell County.
There are a few bright things that came out of that difficult time. One was the formation of the McDowell County Flood Task Force. The task force is still talked about in the state capital today as an example of a successful of collaboration in responding to severe crisis. It was incredible how local, state and national agencies came together and orchestrated a fairly rapid recovery of the County. Then known as McDowell Mission, Community Crossing housed and organized relief efforts by the many hundreds of volunteers who came from all over the country to help.
Another bright spot was working with Kathie Whitt who served as secretary of the Flood Task Force. Kathie is a true professional and she possesses a heart for McDowell County. Over the years Community Crossing has had opportunity to increase the scope of ministry in the county and much of that can be attributed to Kathie. In 2011, The State was looking for an organization to run the Parents As Teachers program in the County. It was Kathie who encouraged CCX to pursue the contract and she was the one who provided endorsement to the State.
A life-long resident of War, WV and graduate of Big Creek High School, Kathie went to Berea College and studied Child Development. Her career included serving 7 years as Strong Families Director at Big Creek People in Action. Kathie is retiring on June 30, 2017 after 17 years as Executive Director of FACES. While we are excited for her much deserved retirement we know the community is losing a great asset. CCX will always be grateful for Kathie, her work, her heart, her faith, and her friendship. We wish her well. We also congratulate the new Executive Director Ginger Day, and look forward to supporting her through the transition in leadership.
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine
and shadows will fall behind you.
The Community Crossing can do so much more with your help. We are very fortunate to have the Parents As Teachers grant through WV DHHS, however the grant does not cover the cost of our key supportive ministries:
Home repairs to ensure children have a safe environment
Black Diamond boxing club to encourage fitness and discipline in youth
Men's basketball and other community sports for all ages
Support and resources for entrepreneurs in our county
Healing for drug and alcohol addiction - presently we are praying for the development of an effective ministry