We at New Changemakers have sought to show how innovative churches all over the world are seeking to give expression to the hope that we celebrate every year during this Easter Season.

We welcome the opportunity to share how you and your congregation are seeking to be the good news of Jesus in the turbulent 2020s. Please send your hopeful examples to Tom Sine. We can’t promise to use all of them but we would like to share a number of your God-inspired, creative, and compassionate actions.

Today, let’s take a trip to Asbury United Methodist in Columbus, Indiana. Let’s see what can happen when you combine Christian compassion with skilled engineering.

“When the coronavirus shut down the world, the engineers at Asbury United Methodist Church got busy.

While United Methodists around the globe are working to feed the hungry, make face masks and give people attention while they are stuck inside, some are helping in ways that are more unusual.

About 16 members of Asbury United Methodist Church are engineers, including the Rev. Dave Blystone, Asbury’s pastor. Cummins Inc., a prominent engineering firm, is based in the city.

Asbury’s engineering group, Mission Columbus, has helped with disaster relief and renovated buildings for a homeless shelter and drug treatment center.

‘Some connections were made with the local hospital,’ Blystone said. ‘Respirators and ventilators were needed to treat COVID-19 patients, officials at Columbus Regional Health told Mission Columbus.

‘Initially, we have no idea what we’re doing,’ Blystone said. ‘We’ve not done medical equipment before. We build ramps. We put roofs on houses. We replace water heaters. … But this is a whole different thing.’

A ventilator helps a patient to breathe, breathing for them if necessary. A respirator is a portable unit that filters air. The task is to find materials that are cheap and available and make a design that works efficiently.

‘In a period of 14 days, we went from searching on the internet for existing designs for respirators and ventilators, to having a working prototype,’ Blystone said. ‘Then we had hospital people come in and they looked at it and said, ‘Take the next step.’

‘So we’re working on all of those things and we’re doing a significant design revision right now.’

The goal is to make 150 ventilators and respirators at no cost to the hospital through funding from the church.” (Click the link to see photos of their ventilator prototypes).

Of course, there aren’t many churches that have engineers in their pews and local factories that can collaborate in creating much needed respirators. What are innovative combinations that members of your church might create drawing on the resources of your community? Email us your examples of compassionate creativity.

 

New book by Tom Sine and Dwight Friesen called 2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change will be released in September 2020 by Fortress Press.