Just like so many years in the past, parishioners from Epworth United Methodist Church in Cockeysville once again participated in the Baltimore County Christian Workcamp.
Structured like mission trips that focus on building and repairing homes in impoverished areas, the BCCW takes place during the third week in July each year. Volunteers may commit for one day or as many days as their schedules allow. Volunteers from local churches and groups work to fix all the referred homes, with projects ranging from ramp building to yard clean-up in just one week’s time.
The volunteers from Epworth included Amanda Beard, Sarah Gillispie, Mike Gillispie Tobi Kester, Briant Kester, Gail McGucken, John McGucken, Malachi Price, Noah Price and Susan Roscoe as well as Pastor Bill Jones.
Over the years, the group from Epworth has gained experience and expertise in building ramps, dating back to the construction of their first ramp for the Baltimore County Christian Workcamp in 2014. This year, they put that expertise to good use when called upon to build a wheelchair ramp for a home in Phoenix, not far from the church on Warren Road.
Ramps are often requested and needed for many of the referred homes and one client, whose house had a ramp added, was able to get outside for the first time since the pandemic started. For the clients, who otherwise could not afford the repairs, these services were invaluable and the gentleman that Epworth built the ramp for was very grateful and came to the front door frequently to watch them work.
The workcamp was founded by two United Methodist ministers in 1984 and now attracts volunteers from all faiths and beliefs as well as partnering the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Baltimore County.
While the bulk of the repairs are done during the annual workcamp week – this year’s was number 38 – the group works year-round on a limited basis and typically repairs about 40 house per year.
The Baltimore County Christian Workcamp remained committed to its mission, despite the uncertainty of the pandemic. A modified version took place last year, with all outside work and no large gatherings, boasting a group of about 40 volunteers who were able to assist eight families during the workcamp week and another nine throughout the year for a total of seventeen total homes repaired in 2020.
The workcamp was thrilled to have nearly 80 volunteers, ranging from 6 years old to seniors, participate this year. While that represents about half of the typical participation rate, the volunteers were able to complete 18 of the 22 projects requested. Even though the fellowship of the usual evening meal gatherings and send-off breakfasts was missing this year, the resilience of the volunteers and the gratitude of the homeowners made for a wonderful experience for all involved. If you’d like to participate in the 39th Baltimore County Christian Workcamp next year or would like to get involved, visit bcchristianworkcamp.org.