McCurdy Volunteer News
December 2022
Volunteer Opportunities in 2023!
A variety of volunteer opportunities are available for you in 2023:
VIM Teams
Each year, Volunteer in Mission (VIM) Teams can sign up to serve from mid-February until mid-November. Currently, we have 13 teams signed up for 2023, but there are still weeks available to help with a wide variety of tasks – painting, mowing, office work, maintenance, dry walling, building fences, yard work, cleaning, and assisting in the afterschool program with crafts. 
Individuals or Teams for De-Construction/Demolition
We will have opportunities next year for crews with specific skills in demolishing buildings to take down several smaller buildings that are no longer needed and are without EPA issues. The first crews will strip electrical wiring and plumbing and uninstall any heating or air conditioning units. Next comes doors and windows, then roofs and finally interior and exterior walls.
If you have any of these specific skills and are willing to volunteer, please let Sarah Allen know your skillset and availability as soon as possible and so she can assemble the teams. Email or call Sarah Allen at 928-691-6471 or
Dorm Host
We still need one more Dorm Host for the month of August. Essentially, a Dorm Host welcomes VIM teams with a loving heart and provides basic hospitality and assistance to the team throughout their week in mission. Other possible volunteer tasks while on the McCurdy campus include assisting the office staff, volunteering in the After School Care program, and/or helping with general maintenance.
For More Information
For more information about volunteering at McCurdy, go to our website at and click on the Volunteer tab at the top of the page to locate the VIM Team Leader Handbook, VIM Team Member Handbook, the Long-Term Individual Volunteer, or the Local Volunteer Handbook.

To schedule a VIM team for a week in 2023, contact our Volunteer Registrar Eufemia Romero by phone at 505-753-7221, ext. 210 or by email at

Christmas Luminarias
The website of the National Park Service provides a little background on the long-standing tradition and history of the importance of luminarias seen throughout New Mexico at this time of year.
“…Every December, plazas, churches, homes, and businesses across New Mexico are lit up with luminarias, (or farolitos as they are known in Northern, New Mexico.) In Spanish, luminaria means 'illumination' and farolito means 'little lantern.' These decorative winter holiday lanterns are made with brown paper bags, which are filled partway with sand and a lit tea candle or small votive. Once lit and set, luminarias glow with a unique warmth that is unmatched throughout the year.
Luminarias weren't always contained in brown paper bags, though. Before the square-bottomed paper bag was patented in 1872, small stacks of Piñon bark and dry wood were made, and the small bonfires were lit along roadways. This is where the controversy around the names arises. North of Santa Fe, 'farolito' is the name for the paper lantern and 'luminaria' is the small stacks of firewood, while south of Santa Fe, New Mexicans call the paper lanterns “luminarias.”
The luminaria tradition of the Rio Grande Valley may have originated in 1590 when small bonfires were lit by Gaspar Castano de Sosa’s men to guide a scout back to their camp. Pueblos picked up luminaria traditions during Spanish colonization. Some of those traditions are still practiced today. The Picuris Pueblo has a torchlight precession and perform traditional dances on Christmas Eve. Acoma Pueblo lines the road into the Pueblo with over two thousand luminarias every year. In New Mexican Catholic traditions, luminarias and farolitos were only lit on Christmas Eve to symbolically guide the Holy Family on their journey...”
To read the full article on Luminaria Traditions, use this LINK.
Ways to Support McCurdy
Giving Tuesday Season
Give light. Give love. Give life.

Giving Tuesday makes so much difference for us at McCurdy Ministries. It is so wonderful to see how many people across the country band together to help us. To date, we have had more than $42,000 that has been either pledged or has arrived at McCurdy. Donations have come in from individual churches, mission teams, and UWF units as well as from individuals and families. We are so grateful! Thank you!

Sarah Allen, Director of Development 
Recipe of the month
If you enjoy making fruitcake for the holidays, then check out this recipe for a dark chocolate version. 

This recipe is from McCurdy’s very own collection, Recipes of a Century Past, published in 2012 to celebrate the ministry’s 100th anniversary. The recipe was shared by Barbara Tack Elam, Class of 1959. Enjoy!
Dark Chocolate Fruitcake
  • 1 package each seedless and seeded raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
  • 1 cup hot black coffee
  • 1 cup grape juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon each nutmeg and ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries with syrup
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Sherry or brandy
Put raisins, candied fruit, coffee, grape juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and ginger in saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer 5 minutes, remove from heat and stir in shortening and chocolate; cool. Slice cherries and add with syrup and nuts to first mixture. Beat eggs slightly. Gradually add brown sugar and beat until light and foamy. In a bowl sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with fruit mixture, stirring until well blended.
Pour into two 9 x 5 x 3-inch load pans lined on the bottom with wax paper. Bake in a 300oF oven 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours. Let stand in pans on rack until cold. Turn out and peel off paper. Wrap in cloths moistened with sherry and store at least two weeks before cutting. Remoisten cloths when necessary.

To make the crust:
Grease bottom and sides of 15” x 10” x 1” baking pan. In a large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat flour, sugar, margarine, and salt until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly and evenly into pan. Bake at 350o F for 20 minutes.
To prepare the filling:
In a large bowl stir eggs, corn syrup, sugar, margarine, and vanilla until blended; stir in pecans. Spread evenly over hot crust. Bake for another 25 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack and cut into squares.
When I Am Most Like Jesus
By Lynn Cowell

“…I am guessing I am not the only one who struggles at times with serving in the unseen spaces. We get confused, thinking ministry is more in the spotlight, such as teaching a Bible study. Yet Scripture shows us clearly, through the example of our Savior, what pure service looks like:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:5-7).

Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, made Himself nothing for us, and He did that by assuming the posture of a servant.

If our desire is to be like Jesus, then Paul tells us here in Philippians that serving like Jesus is less flashy than we think. It looks more like taking groceries to our elderly mother. Serving like Jesus is making a meal for women in a local shelter. Serving like Jesus is caring for those who won't or can't ever pay us back. This is when we are most like our Savior.

Jesus Himself instructed us in this way: ... whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:26-28, CSB).

When I'm truly serving like Jesus, I am serving Jesus. When we choose to do the hidden work, the less-than-beautiful, unseen work ... when we choose to humble ourselves and give our time, effort and resources to those who need love most ... this is when we are like Jesus.

Jesus, help me to choose to humble myself and live the hidden, selfless life of a servant. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
To read the entire article, go to LINK.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Linda Safley, a dear friend of mine, wrote the following article about this great Christmas song.
“It's December and the sounds and sights of Christmas are all around us. I believe that I enjoy the music of this season the most. It is so timeless – it seems even though I've listened to some of the same carols and songs now for 50 years or more I never grow tired of them.
There is a new movie out this year, it is called, ‘I Heard the Bells’ – it is one of my favorite Christmas songs but the story of the writing of the poem used for the hymn is an amazing one. The lyrics were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas day in 1863. Longfellow was now a 57-year-old widow and the father of six children. Two years earlier, Longfellow's wife had been tragically killed after her dress caught on fire. Henry had tried to save his beloved Fannie and suffered burns as well that prevented him from attending his own wife's funeral. After her death he suffered much grief to the point he thought he might need to be sent to an asylum. 
Early in 1863, the Wadsworth's oldest son, Charles had enlisted in Lincoln's army and on December 1st while eating alone, a telegram arrived notifying Henry that his son had been severely wounded and nearly paralyzed at a skirmish during the Mine Run Campaign.  
Later that month, on Christmas Day, Wadsworth penned the poem seeking to capture the dissonance in his own heart and in the world that he observed around him on that Christmas Day.  He heard the Christmas bells ringing in Cambridge and the singing of ‘peace on earth’ but he observed the world of injustice and violence that seemed to mock the truthfulness of this optimistic outlook. The theme of listening recurs throughout the poem, eventually leading to a confident hope that even in the midst of bleak despair God is alive and righteousness shall prevail. What a timely message for then and for now! 
Within a decade the poem was put to music by the English organist John Baptiste Calkin. If you get the chance during this holiday season, listen to this amazing hymn and imagine the struggles during this tumultuous time in our country and be amazed as I am that God was in control then and remains in control today.  
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men
And the bells are ringing (peace on earth)
Like a choir they're singing (peace on earth)
In my heart I hear them (peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men
And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men
But the bells are ringing (peace on earth)
Like a choir singing (peace on earth)
Does anybody hear them? (peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang the bells, more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men
Then ringing singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men
And the bells they're ringing (peace on earth)
Like a choir they're singing (peace on earth)
And with our hearts we'll hear them (peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they're ringing? (peace on earth)
The life the angels singing (peace on earth)
Open up your heart and hear them (peace on earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men
Peace on earth, peace on earth
Peace on earth, Good will to men

Wishing all of you…a very blessed Christmas season and a Happy New Year!” 
Baby Jesus, Child of Love
Baby Jesus, child of love,
born of Mary, child of God,
born this night to bring us light,
God with us, Emmanuel.
Bells ring out, a child is born.
Angels sing out, "Christ the Lord!"
All on Earth rejoice His birth,
a Child of love, the Promised One.
Hope was born this silent night,
dark no more, eternal light.
He came to bring us saving grace,
a child of love, the Holy One.
Word made flesh this holy night,
Living Promise, Lord Divine.
Bringing peace, goodwill to men,
a child of love, the Chosen One.
Born this night, this sacred night
Jesus Christ, the Lord Most High,
came to save and show the way,
a Child of love, the Son of God.
By Marcia A. Newton Published by Family Friend Poems December 24, 2021
McCurdy Ministries Community Center creates hope and empowers the lives of children, youth, adults and families through education, life skills, and faith-based programs in Española, New Mexico.
As Christians, Advent is a time to prepare our hearts and to focus our minds on the true meaning of Christmas – the celebration of the most wonderful gift each of us ever has (or could) receive, the birth of Jesus Christ. Join us in pausing to consider what we each of us can do to put more “Christ” in Christmas this year.
On behalf of the McCurdy Ministries Community Center Board and staff as well as the children, youth, adults, and families MMCC serves in the Española Valley, we wish you and your family a most blessed and holy Christmas.
Feliz Navidad!
McCurdy Board and Staff
Through our Volunteer Newsletter, we are providing the latest information about volunteer opportunities at McCurdy Ministries Community Center and sharing helpful tips about planning a mission trip to Española. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions about articles or resources. Send your suggestions or questions to Linda Polson at Linda is an MMCC Board Member and experienced VIM Team Leader.
For more information about McCurdy Ministries Community Center, click on the link below to go to our website at Also, don’t forget to like McCurdy Ministries Community Center on Facebook at or use the link below.

McCurdy Ministries Community Center creates hope and empowers the lives of children, youth, adults and families through education, life skills and faith-based programs
in Española, NM.