News Archives

Missionary will run Stockholm Marathon to benefit church

 


Missionary will run Stockholm Marathon to benefit church

 

June 1, 2004      

 

A UMNS Feature

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
The Rev. Keith Turman
By Linda Bloom*

 

For the Rev. Keith Turman, running is a pleasure, not just a way to keep fit.

But the United Methodist missionary, based in Lithuania, has chosen to make his first marathon more than just an enjoyable race past the Swedish Royal Palace and Houses of Parliament in central Stockholm.

His goal: to raise $26,000 — $1,000 per mile — at the June 5 Stockholm Marathon, to be used toward the construction of a new church in Taurage, Lithuania.

Turman told United Methodist News Service that the idea of running a marathon in Europe originated with his friend, Angie Slaback, who was planning to visit Lithuania with her son, Lake, in June. She had run her first marathon in Chicago last fall and was eager to try again, he said.

“Several years ago, my good friend, Dr. Dan Slagle, had used a marathon to raise money to help build a church in North Georgia, so I decided to follow his example,” he added.

Training began in February. “I ran for two months on snow and ice before seeing the sidewalk, and the first day of running on the sidewalk was in a driving, icy rain,” Turman said. “But I didn’t quit. I couldn’t quit. I had already told my church in Taurage that I was running a marathon for them.”

The first United Methodist congregation in Taurage was established in 1923 and a church building dedicated in 1925. But its 71 members dwindled because of German repatriation in 1941. The Soviets forced Lithuanian clergy and church leaders to flee, confiscated the Taurage property and eventually tore the church down. A funeral home now occupies the land.

Restarted in 1996, the current Taurage congregation has purchased property near the original sites. The projected cost of a new church building is $250,000.

Turman and his wife, Chan, serve in Lithuania through the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. He said he continues to challenge the Taurage church members to pursue their dream.

“The marathon training has been difficult at times and it has given me many opportunities to talk with them about overcoming obstacles and enduring the struggles to meet the goal,” he explained. “The church members are poor, but I have been amazed at their desire to sacrifice and give.

“They are discovering creative ways to give to the building fund. Vida, a hairdresser and member of the church council, has made a commitment to take her earnings for one day each month and donate it for the new building. Others are following her lead.”

Turman and Slabach will join some 15,000 other runners from around the world at the Stockholm Marathon. Traveling to the marathon will involve a 10-hour bus ride from Lithuania to Tallinn, Estonia, and an overnight ferry trip from Tallinn to Stockholm.

Turman can be reached by e-mail at keithnchan@yahoo.com. He is accepting race pledges either on a per-mile basis or as a lump sum. Pledges or contributions to the Taurage church fund can be mailed in the United States to Hillsdale United Methodist Church, 5228 Highway 158, Advance, N.C. 27006, in care of the Rev. Jerry Webb.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

 

 

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email:*
ZIP/Postal Code:*
Question:*

*InfoServ ( about ) is a service of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW


Contact Us

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

Phone
(optional)

*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add InfoServ@umcom.org to your list of approved senders.