Henderson Settlement is a part of the Red Bird Mission Conference of the United Methodist Church of Kentucky. While Henderson Settlement was originally established in the early 1900’s to bring educational opportunities to the children of south east Kentucky, it is also a working agricultural center with cattle, orchards, and greenhouses. In the 1970’s public schools opened and the settlement schools adapted to address other community needs; adult literacy, maternal infant health outreach and youth recreational after-school and summer programs. Continually adapting its mission to meet the changing needs of the community, today there are community care and outreach ministries, agricultural, craft and clothing ministries and work camps providing home improvement and building projects.
Henderson Settlement has an application process to select families and projects for the year. Many families simply do not have the financial resources to purchase the materials needed for even simple improvements and other families may be physically unable to do the labor. A project list is created from the applications and it lists the cost of the materials, the number of people needed and the number of days required to complete the projects. The work crews purchase the materials needed for the specific job and provide the labor needed to complete the project. While working on someone’s home work crews may have the opportunity to work side by side with families or they may only be able to meet the family as they head off to work. Occasionally families are reluctant to meet the work crews because they are embarrassed by their need of assistance or are physically or mentally challenged.
The ministry focus of the FUMC Appalachia Mission trips to Henderson Settlement is to::
- Build relationships between families in Ann Arbor and families in Frakes Kentucky; dispelling stereotypes and prejudices between city life and life in the mountains.
- Serve together as a family of God; with children and adults working side by side.
- Give volunteers with limited free time the opportunity to serve, whether it is a full week or four days.
- Provide the physical labor and purchase the materials needed for a community project on a families home and to improve or maintain the facilities of the settlement .
- Work in the greenhouse and give support to the staff of the Opportunity Store (the resale shop) by working in the storage room.