The Batesville Area Ministerial Association “is an association of ministers, not churches. We get together monthly for fellowship and to discuss business and projects we’re working on and have a meal together,” reports President Roger Dean.
Ministers and/or representatives for these churches are involved with the organization: Church on the Rock, Community Church of Batesville, St. Mark Lutheran Church, St. Louis Catholic Church, Batesville United Methodist Church, Batesville Christian Church and Adams Lutheran Church, Batesville; St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Crossroads; St. John’s United Church of Christ, Huntersville; and Holy Family Catholic Church and Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg.
“The food pantry is our biggest project. Each church takes a month to work at the food pantry. It is all volunteer based. There is no paid staff. Anne Baran is our coordinator,” says the Church on the Rock pastor. The food pantry is open Wednesdays from noon-4 p.m. on a drive-through basis now.
“We also partner with other area nonprofits, including BARC (Batesville Area Resource Center). We helped them get the building .... We partner financially with the Southeast Indiana Health Center and work with Safe Passage.” The group also supports the Summer Food for Kids Program.
“Over the years, we (churches) have done joint services together. We’ve done community outreach events and other service-oriented activities .... For a long time we had a Good Friday service. At times, we did a National Day of Prayer.”
BAMA assists the disadvantaged with electric and other utility bills and sometimes with rent and prescriptions. “We sometimes give gas cards to people who are traveling through or need help getting to doctors’ appointments or work .... If it’s below freezing, we will help transients with a hotel room.”
Members of the public “can help financially by donating to the association,” Dean reveals. Checks made payable to BAMA can be mailed to BAMA, P.O. Box 383, Batesville, IN 47006.
“The churches give us donations. Some have it set up in their budgets. Others give every so often.” Churches, organizations, businesses and individuals “have done canned food drives for us.” The food pantry has also received funding from the Ripley County Community Foundation Turnover Hunger campaign.
Another way to lend a hand is by volunteering at the pantry. “We have a list of people who are willing to help, and we don’t usually call them unless we really need them.”
In addition to Dean, who has been president for about eight years, the leadership team consists of Vice President Seth Bartal, Community Church of Batesville; Secretary Sister Marge Wissman, Sisters of St. Francis; and Treasurer Owenita Grubert, St. John’s United Church of Christ.