Valarie Englert, Senior Pastor

This week at staff meeting, the conversation went something like this:
‘Did you receive my text about Aishley Cohns, the principal of Lister Elementary? She passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.’

‘Oh my. How sad.’
‘Do we have church members who work at Lister?’
‘Let me check … yes, we do.’
‘I wish we could send them something comforting and nourishing, like soup.’
‘Why don’t we send them some soup?’
And it built from there. Phone calls were made, texts were sent inquiring about needs and well-being, procedure and numbers, lunchtime and where to serve.
Yesterday, on behalf of our congregation, First United Methodist Garland staff delivered soup, salad and breadsticks from Olive Garden (which added a couple of extra dishes to the order free of charge), and pound cake, because, well, dessert is just good during a time of loss. 
Many of our staff meetings revolve around conversations like these. What’s going on (congregationally, locally, globally)? How can we respond with the love of Christ?
When the tornadoes struck on October 20, staff gathered at 8:00am the very next morning. (Those who were able; we had staff who were affected by the storms.) 
A few calls were made, texts were sent, and then we fanned out to touch base and assess, deliver coffee and breakfast, and help clean up debris.
Also that Monday morning, office volunteers took cell phones in hand (no phone service or WiFi at the church) and began making calls, checking on folks, and letting volunteers and staff in the field know of a need or of people needing a check-in visit.

It is a rich blessing to be a part of the people of First United Methodist Garland, who see the needs of others, who wonder how we might faithfully respond, and then act on those openings for service and care.

For this congregation and its huge servant heart, I am grateful.

May your Thanksgiving celebrations be blessed with love, joy and peace.

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