Faith UMC Takes Worship to the Streets with Be the Church

Faith UMC Takes Worship to the Streets with Be the Church

by Susan Neuhalfen

We’ve all heard the old saying: “You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?”

The answer to that question at Faith United Methodist Church in Denton is a resounding YES.

On Sunday, April 3, the congregation at Faith UMC attended a brief service and then set out to work in various places in the community to help make the area better. The title of the event was “Be the Church”, and after its resounding success, according to Pastor Rodney Whitfield, Faith UMC will be “walking the walk” of faith a lot more often.

“We took the things we talk about and study about and put that into action,” said Reverend Rodney Whitfield.  “It’s important that you not only believe it, but that you live it.”

The goal is to work to transform their community and they do this through their partners. Faith UMC has many partners in the area and the church works with these groups year round.  They include McNair Elementary, Hearts for Homes,  Friends of the Family, and Cumberland Children’s Home. The fact that the church works closely with the partners on Be the Church works to both of their advantages.  The partners benefit from much needed work and the event helps to further engage the community and the congregation.

Over 200 people of all ages participated in the event which benefited everyone from first responders to low income elderly with a wide range of services provided by parishioners.

People are assigned their duties according to their gifts and/or limitations.  Some stay at the church to do their work, due to age or time constraints but they don’t work any less than the others.  Everyone works throughout their time to make the day special for people all over Denton and Corinth.

“We believe that church is more of a verb than a noun,” said Serena Eckert, Director of Caring Ministries.  “We go outside of church to live out the sermon in our community every now and then and it’s a great way to connect with our partners.”

Some of those who stayed at the church prepared lunches that were then delivered to firefighters and police officers on duty at the Lake City Fire Station, Denton Fire Station #5, Corinth Police Station and Denton Police Station.    Reverend Whitfield served with this group, and along with his family, delivered food to the Denton Police Station.

He said that he received a very kind email from Sgt. Lane at the Denton PD thanking him for the packaged lunches  The Sergeant told him how the day had gone “sideways” and it had been so busy for the officers that if they hadn’t received the lunches many would have had to go without while finishing paperwork. Whitfield went on the say that the officers were very excited and very appreciative to those who delivered the food as well.

Another in-house group assembled 150 United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) health kits.  The donated health and hygiene items were packaged to be used locally or globally for for disaster zones.

One group of handymen and women visited the homes of low income elderly residents to paint their homes.  Faith UMC partners with Hearts for Homes which also provides no cost home repair to elderly low income homeowners in Denton County, bringing the houses of these residents up to code.

One yard crew visited the campus at Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home for clean up and maintenance while another worked on the outdoor learning center at McNair Elementary.  In addition, 100 teacher/staff appreciation bags were also assembled and delivered to McNair Elementary School as a “thank you” for all that the teachers and staff do for the kids.

In a different, but equally important effort, the kids at the Friends of the Family shelter received a visit from other Faith UMC parishioners. The group played games and visited with the kids for a special Sunday treat.

The day ended with a group performing a prayer walk around Guyer High School.  Guyer has had several tragedies this year including the loss of two students.  This is a guided prayer opportunity and students and teachers were invited to join.  Church members walked the perimeter of Guyer High School to pray for its students and teachers.

When asked if the church would do it again soon, Revered Whitfield said that it hasn’t been scheduled yet but he was sure they would. He went on the say that they are still learning from the folks who attended this one so they want to gather information before planning another.  They want to make sure they are even more effective the next time.

“We do hope, however, that Be the Church has inspired groups to do these things on their own,” explained Reverend Whitfield. “We should do things like this in our daily lives anyway so I hope that in addition to our next event, members of our congregation are called to act on their own.”

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