Good Neighbors in the Village

by Holly Harman Fackler

I visited an unfamiliar hospital recently on a stressful day in a stressful year that has caused me to spend way more time in hospitals than any other year of my life.  A volunteer wearing a blue smock approached me with a reassuring smile and asked if she could help me find where I needed to go.  I didn’t realize how tightly I was wound, but I nearly cried with relief as she walked with me to my destination, the surgical waiting area.  It was a simple act, but it meant a lot to me just then not to be navigating that short distance alone.

 Sometimes, being a Good Neighbor is just that:  walking with someone over a barrier, through a hard time, on a learning curve – offering simple kindness and encouragement.

 Walking with.  Increasingly, that’s how I view the role of Good Neighbors in the Village, a partnership of Baltimore-area churches.  We work year-round through a number of initiatives meant to improve the quality of life of our neighbors in ways that are both direct and indirect.  Our project areas shift or change with our growing understanding of unmet needs in the community.  We try to maintain good working relationships with local institutions and groups (the food pantry, the school, the library, 4-H, Community Chest, civic groups, the Village, etc.) and focus on efforts that make a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors.  At the very least (and perhaps this is the most important part), we walk with friends for a while, providing connection and assurance.

If you are looking for a way to be involved in an active ministry or community service, GNIV has many volunteer opportunities – for teens and for adults, for handy folks and bookworms.  You don’t need to come to meetings or take charge of a project area; you really can just offer an hour or two of time each week, serving in a way that uses your particular skills, or develops skills.  To get connected, leave a message with the Christ UMC office, 740-862-4343, and we’ll return the call, often the same day.  Or call me.


We have received a grant from the George and Dollie L. Zimpfer Memorial Fund of the Fairfield County Foundation to help support our awesome Healthy Kids Food Box Project, underway now.  This project combines weekly cooking demonstrations with healthy ingredients families take home to make the dish that was demonstrated. If you have minor children and would like to take part, call me for more info.


 Our next board meeting

will be our annual potluck at

6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5

at New Zion’s picnic shelter

 If you want to learn more about what we do, this is a tasty chance to do it!  Bring table service.



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Karen Horn