Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Note From Tracy: In Awe of Christ

And they were filled with awe… (Mark 4:41 TLB)

When was the last time you were filled with awe for what Christ has done for you? Take a moment, stop what you are doing, and allow the Lord to fill you with awe that He died and that He is risen. I am in awe of the cross and what He endured for you and for me. We will never fully comprehend the pain He endured for us and how He suffered being separated from God the Father for us. I am in awe that He rose from the dead to walk the earth, and that we serve a living Savior. I ask you to think about the awe that the apostles and followers must have felt in His presence during this time.

There is magnificent wonder in each part of the story. Each statement alone overwhelms me with the power and greatness of our Christ. I imagine the awe of watching Christ our Savior ascending into heaven to be seated at His rightful place beside God the Father. I am in awe that He gave us our assignment to make disciples as we walk the path He has designed for us to follow. I am humbled to speak of the awe of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. And I am in awe of who I am because Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, giving us all the authority to serve Him as His disciples here today.

At CSM, we are in awe daily serving Christ because of what He has done and the call to be a part of His grand story. We seek the Shalom of our great city and to share the Gospel message to the people. We desire to serve with the message of reconciliation that is only possible because of Jesus. We stand in awe of our great Savior for our great city and are honored to walk with you in this great story.

Awe-filled blessings to you,


Tracy Hipps
CSM Executive Director

He is risen. He is risen indeed.


Digging In To Make a Difference

Gardening season is upon us! Every season is busy season at CSM, but some seasons are busier than others. This past month has been one such season! The warmer weather of Spring brings two things that make life busy for a Volunteer Coordinator/Gardener... lots of volunteers and planting season! In the last month, CSM has had over 1,000 volunteers come through our ministry to help with our food ministry, garden ministry, housing ministry, diaper bank ministry, Bundles of Hopice and to help with our many partnering churches and their various community projects as well!

It has been a pleasure to work with so many people in such a short amount of time and what a blessing to us and to the communities that we serve! We appreciate the teams from Wells Fargo, the Senior class from Jackson Olin High School and the youth group from The Station Church coming make all these projects possible. This time of planting seeds and plants in our 7 community gardens has kept me and CSM staff and volunteers plenty busy.

NRS raised bed gardens ready for planting!
Our partnership with New Rising Star continues to stretch it's roots deep into the fabric of our ministry, and this past month we continued that momentum by connecting with NRS and Station Church in Hoover to construct a new community garden across the street from "The Star" next to the Day Care Center. With the help of 70 middle and high school students, we were able to install a new place for the staff of New Rising Star to continue to improve their efforts in reaching the East Lake community in so many different ways!

On one beautiful day this past month, sea of hot pink seniors from Jackson Olin High School rolled in to spread out around the CSM campus. The Well Fargo customer service department that came to help with Spring garden prepping and painting were excited to “get their hands in the dirt” to help others, and they said it was a bonding experience for them as co-workers. We overheard one of the team members say, "Gardening here is good for the mind, body and soul!" Yes! We agree… volunteering helps everybody!

Thanks to everyone who continue to connect with CSM and the communities we serve! God is planting in deep soil through the Christian Service Mission, and we are blessed to play a small part of His great story for yet another month! Glory to God!

Michael giving instruction and motivation to the Jackson Olin senior class

Michael Bowen
CSM Volunteer Coordinator and Garden Ministry Manager

Monday, April 17, 2017

Operation East(er) at The Star

Food distribution running like clock-work 

Pastor Beavers and sons
For CSM, particularly for our Food and Resource Ministry efforts (marshaled by Rhonda Marshall), New Rising Star's annual Operation East on Easter weekend is HUGE! We help with the logistics and resources they need to serve 500 families in need with FREE food and clothing, along with other services... and a massive dose of Jesus!

Nutrition interns helped to develop recipes that corresponded with the contents of the frozen food boxes and the dry goods and fresh breads grocery bags. There was securing, planning, packing, delivering, distributing, hot dogs grilled for the staff and volunteers, and lots of prayer... some of the parts and pieces of all that happened behind the scenes for days and weeks leading up to the big event.

Willie made multiple truck deliveries and helped pass out all 500 frozen boxes from the back of the CSM truck along with church members who were there, loving on their neighbors and teaching us all what it means to live out our faith and make a lasting impact on your community. 

It was an amazing, well-organized, and well-received ministry event. The love and excitement was palpable, and we are privileged to come alongside NRS to impact their community for Christ. We are excited that we got to play a small part of what God is going to do at the Star.

Church members busy packing up the boxes of frozen foods in the CSM cooler
Pastor Beavers leading his community to the Cross
Clothing registration


The CSM truck has arrived with the frozen food boxes

Willie working hard distributing the food... and loving it

An Intern's Experience at CSM

Haley and Mr. Beeson after undergrad graduation in May
The term “Samford bubble” was a common phrase thrown around during my time in undergrad as a student, and even though I agree Samford is a different culture; I didn’t realize how much weight the phrase “Samford bubble” had until now.

I have been living in Birmingham for almost five years, attending Samford my undergraduate studies and now for my Master's degree. I had no idea there are multiple areas in downtown Birmingham that are considered a food desert. Because I have a variety of multiple grocery stores within a 10 mile radius from my apartment being so close to a food desert had never occurred to me.

Interning at the Christian Service Mission has opened my eyes in a lot of different aspects that relate to poverty and access to nutrition education. I was exposed to the Birmingham community in a way I haven’t been before and noticed a need for things I take for granted every day-- like proximity to a grocery store.

While researching material for the new CSM Cooking Well Nutrition Program, I was surprised at the current gap between existing nutrition programs and the populations they are trying to reach out to. Nutrition is the foundation for healthy living and it really bothers me that basic nutrition knowledge, and even access to fruits and vegetables wasn’t easily accessible. Because of this practicum rotation, I have a better understanding for the need for a community dietitian, and how the Christian Service Mission makes such a difference in the Birmingham community.

Haley Bishop
Samford Graduate Student
Nutrition and Dietetics

Friday, April 14, 2017

Oh Happy Day! Community Picnic and Easter Egg Hunt

Happy, hoppy kids ready to hunt for eggs

Connecting resources with needs is about so much more than food… even when you grill 700 hotdogs for a community-wide picnic and Easter Egg Hunt! This is the 5th year CSM has joined hands with Avondale United Methodist Church and Red Mountain Church to invite families from the whole community to connect with each other over lunch on the grounds of Avondale Park, surrounded by new blooms of Spring. 

"Connecting our resources" (in this case, supplying and grilling hotdogs, providing the drinks and other food items) with our impact community partner’s need actually connects people to people for the sake of the Gospel. Our food and physical resources are just a conduit for God's love and a way for us to love His children. The relational and spiritual impact is the central driver for everything we do at CSM... because He is risen!

He is risen, indeed!
Grill master David Hinkle and son
That's a lot of hotdogs... 700 to be exact!!
Volunteers wrapping and delivering hotdogs as they come off the grill

Ready, set, go!

Tucker found a golden egg!

A beautiful day in the neighborhood