Neighboring in the Everyday


Though neighborhoods across Missouri take on different shapes and sizes, they all share a common witness to God’s mission. In a community with each other, we discover the gifts and strengths God has equipped our neighbors with. We celebrate where God has been at work, learn where God is working and discern where we are called to in the future. For Rev. Jayne Markin, using her gifts to serve neighbors has allowed her to respond to God’s work in her rural community in southeast Missouri.   

Jayne’s approach to neighboring has been discovery, intentionality and encouragement. Knowing Bernie's community and what is important to its residents has helped shape her experience and view of Kingdom work. 

As other rural communities might experience, the school is an important place for families and youth. It’s a place the church can extend love and demonstrate care. Jayne uses her creative side to craft personalized gifts for teachers and staff, and church members help purchase books for students. 

Like the salon, small businesses in the area are places where Jayne and her family can meet neighbors and support local families. Everyday actions are essential, and Jayne hopes others can recognize where they have opportunities to live into their values of community and service. 
During the pandemic, Jayne gave her parishioners coins and challenged them to carry them daily. When they did a kind deed for someone, they could move it from one pocket to another. It was a visual reminder to be intentional about our actions and recognize how God uses them daily. 

More recently, the Bernie congregation has been working on Project Generosity, in which each month, the congregation chooses a place in the community to show appreciation. They prepare baked goods for the organization, and everyone in the congregation signs a card and prays. Jayne has the honor of delivering the goods and thanking them for their work. When she had the chance to deliver cookies to Dollar General, she reflected on how stressed the workers had been lately and how appreciative they were for the act. 

“Serving doesn’t always mean big things like working on a physical project or hosting a big program; it’s all the little things in between,” Jayne 
shares. “I like to find ways we can be loving and caring every day in our community. We don’t always know how God is going to use that. There are conversations we’ll never know about beyond our interactions.” 

You can join in serving neighbors as we celebrate National Good Neighbor Day on September 28. Ask a neighbor about their day, share produce, pick up trash on your road, or host a block party with hot dogs and yard games. Many organizations are highlighting neighboring to promote community connectedness and improve social well-being. 

Fellow Methodists engage with the Good Neighbor Experiment, whose work encourages recognizing local strengths and assets. They hope to equip people to create meaningful relationships and sustainable impacts in their communities. 

The University of Missouri Extension is dedicating a week to observing Good Neighbor Day and is issuing a challenge to reach 10,000 acts of neighboring. In November, the Rural Missouri Connection and Bernie UMC will host the RMC Collab: Abundance in Neighboring event. 

We invite you to be part of the conversation and celebration of how God is on the move in our neighborhoods. 

Interested in learning more about how neighboring can impact your community? 

Check out these resources and join us in Bernie, Missouri, on November 3 for a neighboring event with Rev. Jayne Markin.

The Neighboring Movement
Access podcasts, blog posts and training resources around building relationships and utilizing assets to create impact in your community. 

Who is My Neighbor
An activity to reflect on the neighbors who live close to you and how to build relationships. 
Good Neighbor Week
Record an act of neighboring or nominate an engaged neighbor. 

RMC Collab
Abundance in Neighboring: Save the date! On November 3, we are gathering at Bernie UMC to collaborate and learn about neighboring opportunities in rural spaces.