On December 14, the Avenue United Methodist Church Fusion group walked through Milford singing Christmas carols, carrying gifts collected for the Milford Police Department Annual Toy Drive. The group was escorted through town by police officers as they delivered the gifts which will be distributed to needy children in the city.
“The FUSION Group from Avenue United Methodist Church have made a huge impact on our program,” said Corporal Robert Masten of the Milford Police Department. “They annually make a large donation of gifts that are distributed to area children. One of the families in the church reached out to me about ten years ago with an idea of having a gathering at their home in which attendees must bring a gift for our toy drive. After everyone arrived at the home, we escorted the group through town on hay wagons as the children sang carols on the way to deliver the gifts to the police department. This has become a tradition ever since.”
Corporal Masten, who is also a School Resource Officer, said that there is also a local businessman who requests guests bring a toy for a needy child to his annual Christmas party while another citizen provided a generous amount in Walmart gift cards. He said the Rose Colored Lasses also made a large toy donation this year.
FUSION is the name of the youth ministry overseen by Pastor Cliff McCall at Avenue Church. The group includes children ages 6 through 12 who are led with a team of around 20 adult leaders and volunteers, as well as some college students in the area. The group also has a high school leadership program that guides a group of high school students in the leading of middle school students.
“The toy drive was put on the hearts of a set of parents that have children in FUSION,” Pastor McCall said. “They saw a need in their connection with the Milford Police Department to provide extra gifts for families in need in the city of Milford. This year, we collected around 125 toys that were bought, labeled and dispersed based on age and sometimes gender.”
Corporal Masten said that the toy drive began prior to his arriving on the force in 2002. The officers work with area organizations who identify where the toys are most needed and where they can make the biggest impact. He says it is an annual event that anyone can participate in each year.
FUSION holds a weekly meeting at Avenue UMC every Sunday night from 6 to 8 PM and serves around 60 students per week on average. Students also engage in weekly middle school and high school Bible studies, with students leading praise and worship teams. The group performs several annual service projects, including the toy drive, a Thanksgiving food drive, winter coat drive and various mission projects throughout the community. They will be leading music at the Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance Service at Banneker Elementary on January 18 with their MomentUM Worship group, a lead and praise worship team. Pastor McCall says that FUSION is a large student ministry that strives to serve the Milford community by using their heads, through education and teaching of God’s word, their hands, through service projects and community activities and their hearts, by teaching and allowing God’s spirit to move in the lives of the students as well as the people they serve outside the walls of the church.
“We also do annual trips to the Veterans home and to the Boys and Girls Club,” Pastor McCall said. “I am personally extremely proud of the hearts of our young people and the adults and parents that lead them. They continue to amaze me every time they step up to the plate to make a difference in the world we live in. We have a saying at FUSION that was first coined by Ghandi ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’”
Families interested in joining FUSION can contact Pastor McCall at 302-258-5683 or the church office at 302-422-8111. They group can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/fusionatavenue. Corporal Masten says that anyone interested in participating in the toy drive for next year should call him at 302-422-8081, Extension 229.