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Methodists generous despite shrinking following

Organized outreach efforts aren't all of it. They also occasionally help transients who stop in and say they need help to get to their destinations.

This past Sunday, another manifestation of the Methodists' giving attitude was apparent.

The Methodists welcomed Rev. Vincent Samuel, pastor of Calvary Community Church of Chennai, southern India, to their parish. Samuel administers a medical, educational, job-training and spiritual outreach to the downtrodden in the Chennai region.

Samuel explained his church's outreach, but left unspoken any potential appeals for money, choosing instead to lead the congregation in praise and communion.

No opportunity to help others seems to get past these Methodists. Their families save soup labels, and their children collect beverage pop tops, to raise funds for those in need.

Ross said all these outreach efforts were viewed by the local Methodist parishioners as a matter of conscience and commitment.

"It doesn't matter that we're now fewer in numbers," she said. "We've hung on to the old traditions of helping people in need."

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