Group Serves at West Virginia ASP: Appalachia Service Project

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This week, Western has a group working to repair homes in WV. Our group is comprised of all ages, from high schoolers to retirees, going to (and with) the Appalachia Service Project to ASP’s center in Guyan Valley, West Virginia, 500 sq.-miles of mountainous terrain, where per capita income is $14,000 and 25% of the population lives below the poverty level. 
As she prepared for her trip, team member Joan Romaine wrote:

I was excited to learn that I was put on the roofing team as one of my favorite people in the world was my grandfather, Charles McMann.  Everyone knew “Charlie” McMann as a very generous, self-employed roofer/carpenter who was known to be the best in his trade in the area!  The men who worked for him admired him and loved him and he took good care of them and trained them well.

Every workday my grandmother made my grandfather a hot homemade lunch in her kitchen with her delicious homemade food (chicken and dumplings and macaroni and cheese were my favorites!) and freshly baked bread.  If they were working with him that day, they came too, and all were invited and welcomed.  Everyone loved my grandmother Elsie’s food.

Despite my grandfather’s strong, tarred, and weathered work hands, he would always have his tea in my grandmother’s petite, delicate, floral china tea cups following his meal.  He especially liked the flowers on the teacups and would remind us not to wait until he died (or someone died) to give them flowers, but to do it while they were alive—celebrate them while they are alive—something he did graciously.

I can recall many stories of him and his work, including my grandmother telling me that he would replace roofs for people and if they didn’t have the money to pay him he would just tell them to get it to him when they could.  He also built houses for his family members, including when they couldn’t afford to do it themselves.

In many ways I feel very honored to get to try to do this important work for these people in Guyan Valley and I am sure that I will learn a lot!

We will work on a house of a homeowner, and have an opportunity to meet and have fellowship with them.  I am not sure if the homeowner works with us—it may depend on their physical ability to do so.  Part of our mission is to help make their homes warmer, dryer, and safer.

As you know, many areas of West Virginia have been devastated and hard hit by the recent flooding, with many losing their lives, homes, and livelihoods.  For those who are interested in what the Presbyterian Church is doing in regard to disaster assistance in West Virginia, please see

I ask that you please keep the people of West Virginia in your thoughts and prayers as well as our group as we journey out to be the hands and feet.  Thank you.

In the words of Teresa of Avila (1515–1582):

Christ Has No Body 

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

To see updates from the group, follow Western Presbyterian Church and ASP: Guyan Valley on Facebook.  Learn more about ASP at