Appalachian Trail Outreach Ministry offers aid, comfort, strain to hikers

December 13, 2014 - Picnic Time

BASTIAN — The common Alan Ashworth, priest during Round Mountain Circuit United Methodist Church in Bastian, Va., leads Appalachian Trail Outreach Ministry or “ATOM” though a title.

ATOM provides a convey service, comfortable dish and song to hikers flitting by a Suiter territory of Bland County.

“Trail method is about, like any ministry, jumping into a unknown. You start, we think, with a seed that God plants and we step out in tractability and he blesses,” Ashworth said.

According to Ashworth, there’s a specific window of time that a method works during a trailhead.

“We offer hikers for 8 weeks in a spring. That is a window. That’s when a hikers are entrance by in sufficient numbers to aver a male hours that a method requires,” Ashworth said.

With a biblical truth of assisting strangers who might be angels in disguise, ATOM functions as a method for a internal community.

“ATOM began in 2002 as a enterprise to strech out to a foreigner among us. The New Hope Union Church is situated a mile and a half off of a Appalachian Trail. A series of hikers pass by a neck of a woods in a open mostly,” Ashworth said.

This sold goal margin is opposite in that a goal margin comes to them, according to Ashworth.

“We are advantageous in that we don’t need to go to a goal field. The goal margin comes to us. All we have to do is rivet people as they come, and to acquire them into a midst in Christ name,” Ashworth said.

Ashworth and his group comparison a really vital indicate for a collect adult point.

“At a pickup indicate there’s a overpass crossing, Little Laurel Creek, that a hikers have to negotiate and that’s where we set adult a pickup point,” Ashworth said.

Ashworth’s adore of hiking started during a immature age.

“I’ve hiked, and well, I’ve always hiked. we grew adult in Welch. When we went outside, we hiked, we didn’t know it during a time, we called it going outside. we have always desired inlet and hiking and was advantageous adequate by a smashing medical alloy who lived in a area to confront a Appalachian Trail as a teenager,” Ashworth said.

Ashworth explained a ministry’s common beginnings on a trail.

“We started out by putting a rabble can and a cruise list out on a trail. We built a cruise list and placed it there, though a enterprise came to burst in. We began to consider of those things that hikers need. The inaugural of those is food. we consider liberality and regard in review and only expressions of adore are also important; things that a church can offer,” Ashworth said.

The devise forms and a convey use begins.

“In 2002, we recognised a devise of assembly and enchanting hikers during a trailhead in Suiter in a National Forest and holding them to New Hope Church and feeding them. We ran a convey use into Bland for those that indispensable to go to a grocery store for supplies. We also shuttled those that indispensable to go to a motel for a prohibited showering and a night out of a rain. We would also take them to a post bureau for those who were removing mail drops. The convey use became one of a critical method tools. That and a dish prove a bulk of hikers’ needs,” Ashworth said.

An normal of 2,000 hikers start out hiking from Georgia any open in hopes of creation it to Maine, according to Ashworth.

“The initial half of a Appalachian Trail is mental and a other half is psychological.

We’re during a indicate in a route where people start to doubt since they’re doing it,” Ashworth said.

When asked to sum adult route ministry, Ashworth responded with one word: love.

“If we like people, we will like route ministry. It’s a smashing event to accommodate people who are a small off a beaten track. we have schooled a lot from my years during route ministry,” Ashworth said.

He combined that a square of scripture that describes a method best is Hebrews 13:2. It reads: Do not slight to uncover liberality to strangers, for by doing this some have entertained angels though meaningful it.

Ashworth pronounced branding is really critical to building a tie with hikers flitting by Ashworth’s community.

“ATOM is something that identifies us with hikers. We’ve had t-shirts done with a ATOM pitch on them and a identifying label, Appalachian Trail Outreach Ministry. When we’re really bustling and using shuttles and can’t dawdle in city until hikers have finished their tasks there we dump them off and a opposite motorist might come back, though we tell a hikers to demeanour for that ATOM symbol. It has served us well.”

Ashworth is also concerned with fixation minister’s on a Appalachian Trail.

“We have begun a discussion turn program, it’s permitted by Holston Conference with a United Methodist Church and relates to that establishment by a maintain team. We have a steering cabinet and I’m authority of that steering committee. Our vigilant there is to place a clergyman on a Appalachian Trail. Someone to travel from Georgia to Maine or from Maine to Georgia and to share a life with other hikers,” Ashworth said.

Ashworth pronounced he and his group have a clever enterprise to offer God.

“We have done this thing work since of a strenuous enterprise to be God’s hands and feet,” Ashworth said.

Ashworth also plays song on his guitar for hikers flitting by Suiter. He generally plays when a hikers are served breakfast.

Ashworth is priest during New Hope Union Church in Suiter, Va., and Pine Grove United Methodist Church in Hicksville, Va. The churches are on a Round Mountain Circuit.

The method started 14 years ago.

“It has been a moneyed try for Round Mountain Circuit, and for other churches who have assimilated with us,” Ashworth said.

— Contact Blake Stowers during

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