SOWER Work Mission celebrates 15th anniversary in 2011!Next summer marks the 15th anniversary of the SOWER Work Mission at the Epworth Center in Bethesda, Ohio. In 1996 a group of individuals created the concept of SOWER to reach out to the local area. Since then, groups from Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, North and South Carolina, Minnesota, New York, and Georgia have participated in the program. In fact, since 2000 alone, over 2,500 volunteers have participated in the program, constructing handicap accessible ramps, building decks, repairing roofs, painting and siding homes and churches, and completing many other repairs. SOWERS come as servants to help individuals, families, churches and non-profit organizations who cannot afford needed building repairs. Groups have also assisted local churches in conducing Vacation Bible School. The Epworth Center is affiliated with The United Methodist Church; however, SOWER has an ecumenical focus, welcoming groups from different denominations.In honor of the anniversary celebration, the Epworth Center is highlighting the original motto created 15 years ago, "Sowing seeds of love and kindness by Sharing Our Witness Enriching Relationships." Not only are building repairs made, but relationship-building is also encouraged. SOWERS reach out as Christ's hands and feet in a tangible way. In October, individuals and families who had building repairs completed over the past years attended the annual SOWER Celebration Dinner and shared about their experiences with the volunteers. "Our hearts and eyes were opened to the power and grace of God. We have built a stronger and better life of helping others as we have been helped through the SOWER Mission," reflected a project recipient. "The SOWERS helped us to better our home and lives, by not only building a deck on our house, but also building our faith and relationships in our family and with God. We have in turn volunteered our time to help others as the Sowers did for us."Although SOWER is the primary ministry, other outreach opportunities include hunger, prison, group home partnerships, prayer cloths, medical and more. The Epworth Center hosts retreats, satellite events and training, Emmaus Walks, Chrysalis Flights, days apart for pastors, and more. The Epworth Center is excited to announce the main floor of the lodge is now handicap accessible, thanks to the hard work of a few SOWER groups over the summer. There is also a new prayer room onsite. The Epworth Center is accepting client referrals and applications for the 2011 summer season. Projects considered are: handicap accessible ramp construction, porch repair, painting, siding, roofing (one story homes or trailers), as well as smaller jobs for potential weekend work. To qualify for building repair assistance from the SOWER Work Mission Program...1. There must be financial need.2. The person should own (not rent) the home / property.3. It has to be a SAFE working environment; ie. no attack dogs.4. There needs to be restroom facilities and a place nearby for lunch for the SOWERS.5. Deadline for consideration is MARCH 15, 2011. 6. Location should be within a 45 minute radius of Bethesda, Ohio. All applications are considered. Please note the following: 1. The Epworth Center will select appropriate work sites based on this criteria, and the gifts and preferences of the registered SOWER groups. 2. All approved projects are placed online with photos/info to be chosen by SOWERS.3. The SOWER Work Mission Program typically makes one repair; ie. porch OR paint house, etc. 4. Clients need to recognize that SOWER groups are volunteers and not professionals.For consideration, please mail your name, physical and mailing address, phone number, and specific work needed to Epworth Center, PO Box 538, Bethesda, OH 43719. For more information, call 740.484.4705, visit www.epworthcenter.org or friend us on Facebook - Sower Mission.