Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Birthday Celebration

Tracy Hipps, CSM Executive Director
This season we celebrate. We celebrate the birth of Christ and everything reflects the goodness of our Lord. On December 15, I celebrated my 40th year living for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I remember vividly being 19 years old and deciding to follow Jesus and wanting to get to know my Father in Heaven. After 40 years, I am still following Him and I am here to make Him known to the world.

For the past 40 years, I have had many seasons with Christ-

  Birmingham Baptist Association "Season of Our Savior" 
     stockings to needy children in the Birmingham area.

Ten years growing in my faith and getting to know my God
Ten years learning and developing my faith to make Him known
Ten years leading others in growing their faith
And now, ten years discipling Christ followers to become multipliers of their faith, which has been incredible!

What will the next ten years hold?

“Faithful is He who calls you, He will do it.” He has been faithful and continues to do His work through my life and in my heart, my mind, my hands, my eyes, my mouth, my feet, and in my love. I know my Father lives inside of me, and we celebrate this special Christmas season with all of you who also celebrate His birth and a new birth. Merry Christmas to all!

Cooking Well with Bethel in Samford’s Teaching Kitchens

First Cooking Well class held in the Samford teaching kitchens for Bethel Baptist

The Cooking Well program continues to expand into more communities and in the partnership with Samford University’s Nutrition and Dietetic Department. The groundwork and fundamentals of the program have been laid during this past year with the assistance of dedicated and energized undergraduate nutrition interns, and with crucial research and development contributions from graduate students in their Dietetic Internship rotation.

CSM's Jamie Leo with
Samford's Dr. Pat Terry(r)
Samford faculty has invested time and energy to allocate students whose passions and study-focus line up with our objectives, and to pave the way for the Cooking Well program to be held in one of the teaching kitchen spaces housed in the new Health Science Building (former Southern Living/Cooking Light test kitchens). This opportunity allows the class participants to learn cooking techniques and culinary skills in the multiple kitchen stations, along with a high level of nutrition education.

The pilot session at Samford has been a great success, with a leadership team from Bethel Baptist Church in Collegeville brought to the program by Pastor Thomas Wilder’s wife, Mechelle. The class was taught and facilitated by Samford nutrition students, CSM staff and volunteers. Dr. Patricia Terry, Samford Nutrition Professor who opened the kitchen labs to CSM, spoke to encourage and honor the participants at the graduation dinner where certificates were awarded. Pat shared the premise— and gave each graduate a copy— of her book, “Made for Paradise,” which paints a picture of God’s original plan for healthy eating, physical activity and rest.

Mechelle Wilder speaks at graduation
eMeals co-founder, Jenny Cochran, inspired us with her healthy and happy family perspective, and Mechelle Wilder challenged everyone with the story of her life and faith journey. Mechelle and her team of amazing ladies are now casting a vision with the ladies of their church to bring Cooking Well into the North Birmingham community surrounding the church.

"We would like to thank the Christian Service Mission and Samford University for hosting Bethel Baptist Church of Collegeville in the 6-week cooking class. We were all thrilled to be instructed in cooking healthy meals in a premier commercial cooking kitchen. We are also so grateful for the fun, fellowship and new friendships established from the classes."
                                  Mechelle Wilder and class participants

If you are interested in learning more about Cooking Well, please contact Judy Vann |

Allie Sanderson immediately makes everyone
comfortable and excited to learn

Samford Nutrition interns helping Allie plate the meal

Samford interns helping to make the logistics work...
... and wash the dishes!

Fresh and healthy cooking techniques 

A happy and welcoming environment
Jamie Leo and Kirsten Agee from CSM brought their mad culinary skills 

Jane DeLaney, eMeals founder, joins in the class

'Chef' Janice Vickers

Nutrition class time with Dietetic Intern, Caitlyn Sloane

Fresh herbs from the CSM gardens

Washing lettuces harvested from the CSM hydroponic greenhouse
Commensality every week!
Graduates of the six-week program received a framed certificate,
a Cooking Well apron, a copy of Dr. Terry's book, and a one-year
eMeals subscription given by co-founder Jenny Cochran(r)
Graduation dinner by candlelight
Mechelle Wilder received her Cooking Well Certificate
and graduation gifts with smiles all around

Resources + Needs = Connections from CSM!

Norman and Janet Dixon with Oliver Elementary students in the STAIR program

CSM is out in the community to create lasting change by connecting resources with needs. For the last four years, we have been a partner of Oliver Elementary’s STAIR (Start the Adventure in Reading) program with Independent Presbyterian Church. Norman and Janet Dixon, a part of the CSM volunteer family, have been the site directors at Oliver for just as long. Over the last four years, we have had the privilege of tutoring second grade students at Oliver to watch their reading levels go from sub-par to ready to knock 3rd grade out of the park!

Norman Dixon teaches and disciples
Eula Jackson with kids
she has poured into all year
Each year we have worked with Norman and Janet to recruit volunteer tutors to help out on Mondays or Wednesdays for one hour of one-on-one tutoring with a second grade student! The more tutors we recruit, the more students we can serve!

This year in particular, has brought with it an even deeper level of engagement between CSM relationships and the students at Oliver Elementary School. We have seen fifteen CSM volunteers, including Eula Jackson, go from partnerships with us to relationships with some awesome second grade students kids!

The impact that 15 volunteers can have on 15 kids struggling in reading is exponential! Because of partnerships with IPC, Oliver Elementary, STAIR, the Dixon's and with our fantastic volunteer base, we are continuing to grow not only our ministry, but ministries that are having incredible kingdom impact in the lives of adults, children and families throughout the city! CSM loves our students, we love our teachers and we love our volunteers!

Michael Bowen tutors with STAIR every week

ThankServing Day 2017 in Numbers and Pictures

Tracy gives instruction for all the volunteers at CSM on ThankServing Day

It was an amazing site to see... You helped us distribute 164,000 pounds of food at Thanksgiving!

Over 1000 volunteers helped us sort, pack, load and deliver holiday meals around Birmingham on ThankServing Day this year. 4100 families received a frozen turkey and a big bag of groceries.
Generous corporate sponsors helped CSM pull this city-wide benevolent distribution together by donating high quality food, printed material and other resources including:

-Buffalo Rock
-Royal Cup
-Marino Foods
-Twin construction
-Southeastern Freight

We helped 49 ministry partners get food in the hands of needy families and individuals they minister in their communities at 23 different sites. And a special thanks to all these volunteers who pitched in to help here at CSM!