Friday Greetings - February 24
My friend and colleague in ministry shares this Lenten Reflection to members of the NC Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. It’s very appropriate for this season and I pray you will consider where God is drawing you to ‘be a blessing’.
In 2011, Plymouth United Methodist Church was in crisis. A few years earlier, the main industry in their town shifted its headquarters away from Plymouth, and, more recently, they had suffered a bitter split in their congregation. Their hearts were broken, and their spirits weary. They were in need of healing, and mission.
Rev. Jay Clark and his congregation looked at their community and saw a need for housing rehabilitation. People owned homes but had no money for repairs. So the congregation picked up tools, walked out of their church, and went to work. They replaced floors. They repaired porches. They fixed broken windows, patched leaking roofs, ripped out insulation, and installed new countertops.
The people of Plymouth United Methodist Church shared their love of God with their neighbors, by repairing their homes.
PUMC is, today, like a lot of other rural churches across eastern North Carolina—they are graying. Their membership is growing older, and they are not as physically active as once they were. But they still have hearts for Jesus. They still love their neighbors. They still reach out to people across their little mill town. Their work repairing houses now extends over three counties.
Their two-hundred-year-old church building houses mission teams from across the United States to work on houses in Washington, Chowan, and Bertie counties. Some groups are old friends, returning again and again to work and enjoy the graceful hospitality of PUMC. Teenagers run up and down church hallways in the evening, laughing, singing, playing ball, gathering to worship in the fellowship hall, and learning how to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a town that desperately needs reminding of God’s love.
In Genesis 12.2, God calls Abram to leave his home and all that is familiar to him. He promises, “I will bless you…so that you will be a blessing.” Carolina Rebuilding Ministry has been a blessing to PUMC, to many people who need help, and to people who want to help.
Father, make us one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory. Amen.
Rev. Vickie Woolard serves as the pastor of Plymouth UMC in Plymouth, NC