As a way of addressing local hunger issues, Rob Gray, a Duke University financial planner and deer hunter, launched Orange County Outdoors Ministry this past fall.
“Sadly, one of four children in North Carolina are food insecure,” he said recently. “Food programs and feeding programs are great, but they all report the most challenging commodity to acquire is fresh meat. It is just too expensive and it is hard to store.
“This is where Orange County Outdoors Ministry has helped. For every deer we harvest, we can provide upwards of 200 portions of low-fat, high-protein venison. Our initial goal was to donate 600 servings before the end of 2015. We are proud to report that we have exceeded our goal and are in the process of donating at least 1,600 servings, all at no cost to local families in need.”
After learning about the mission of Anathoth Garden in Cedar Grove, Gray reached out to partner with the garden ministry by providing fresh venison to be distributed across the Triangle area in weekly boxes of fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits.
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Gray lives with his wife and two sons in Efland and the family attends Efland United Methodist Church. His ministry, however, is not church-sponsored.
“We invite non-church members who are still exploring their spirituality and have an open heart and open mind,” he said. “In short, OCOM is composed of outdoors enthusiasts who enjoy fellowship through hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and other outdoors activities.”
Gray says that often he is asked why he started Outdoors Ministry.
“I tell everyone that when you're sitting in a tree stand and hunting, you don’t have much to do other than be still … that prompted me to start thinking about faith and reading the Bible ... that led me to exploring my faith. My family started going to Efland United Methodist in January of this year.”
Outdoors Ministry does not have card-carrying members, he said.
“It's a community, it's community-based. It's not a hunting club or a fishing club. Whatever your gifts are, or whatever you can do, you can be a part of it. I think that's part of the beauty of it.”
When you're sitting in a tree stand and hunting, you don’t have much to do other than be still … that prompted me to start thinking about faith and reading the Bible ... that led me to exploring my faith.
Rob Gray, founder, Orange County Outdoors Ministry
Persons who want to support Orange County Outdoors Ministry will be interested in Gray's list of what is needed.
▪ Land to hunt on.
▪ Ponds to fish in.
▪ Outdoors equipment in good condition.
Monetary donations may be mailed to 205 Norwich Ct., Efland NC 27243, with checks payable to Orange County Outdoors Ministry.
For more information, see www.facebook.com/ocoministry/ or email Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Israeli film series
“Reel Israel,” the fourth annual Israeli Documentary Film Series will begin at Kehillah Synagogue Wednesday, Jan. 6.
“Censored Voices,” the first in the series of six films, will be screened from 7 to 9 p.m.
The series will take viewers on a tour of Israel and each screening will be followed by discussion, led by Duke Associate Professor Shai Ginsburg.
The series aims to diversify the vision of Israel by exploring a wide range of issues and themes: immigration and emigration, aging, gender, ethnicity, Israeli urban centers and the kibbutz, past dreams and present reality as well as the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the Jewish Holocaust.
Ginsburg was born and raised in Beersheba, Israel. He teaches Israel and Jewish culture, literature and cinema at Duke University and writes film reviews for the online magazine Souciant.
To register, call 919-942-8914. Suggested donation for the whole series is $40. Individual films are $10, students $6 with ID required.
The film series is part of an ongoing collaboration between Duke University and the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum and is made possible through donations by David and Adele Roth and Stan and Marion Robboy.
The synagogue is located at 1200 Mason Farm Road in Chapel Hill.
Wednesday evening classes on a variety of relevant topics at United Church of Chapel Hill will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
A light supper is available between 5:45 and 6:30 p.m. with the program offering for adults and youth running from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The series will continue Wednesday evenings.
Topics under discussion: History of racial justice with guest Dr. Blark Kelley; aging well; discussion of “The Shack”; art classes for adults and children; ring together with handbells.
All events open to the community. The church is at 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
An introductory course titled “The Christian Spiritual Journey as Transformation” at Church of Reconciliation, 110 N. Elliott Road in Chapel Hill, will hold an orientation session from 7 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10.
Classes will continue from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays from Jan. 11-Feb. 15. Faculty will be Mark and Allison Davidson.
If a daytime class is more convenient, classes also will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon Thursdays from Jan. 14-March 3. Faculty will be Heather Ferguson and Cely Chicurel.
Contact Flo Johnston at email@example.com or cll 910-361-4135.