One morning this spring a couple North Alabama United Methodist Church elders were meeting at a local Jack’s restaurant. Over biscuits and coffee the conversation took a productive turn and the two decided to come together and commit to a mission.
Through their leadership the congregations of Hayden First UMC and Taylor Memorial UMC worked together to help build a home for a family in need.
A member of Hayden UMC had several circumstances that left her in great need. She lost everything in a fire, her husband had to go to a nursing home after suffering a stroke and dementia and she was trying to raise her grandchildren in a Katrina trailer.
Rev. Howard gathered some building supplies and Rev. Carver gathered all his tools and together 20 youth and adults set out to build the family a home in “Bangor Holler.” The family had an old butler building that had once held atire shop business. It is there that the team planned to build the family a home.
The connectional system made this partnership a natural fit. Rev. Ron Howard was called into ordained ministry while a member of Taylor Memorial UMC about ten years ago and now serves as an ordained elder as pastor of Hayden First UMC. Rev. Michael Carver, now pastor of Taylor Memorial UMC was a guest preacher at Taylor Memorial UMC when Howard answered the call.
Carver explains, “It is natural for a church to stay connected with a pastor that was sent out as a missionary to do God’s work. We should not forget them we should support them with our prayers and when able assist in their ministry.”
Carver adds, that this was not the first time he had been to Bangor Holler. He remembers he had been there as a child when his father was so moved by the circumstances of a woman trying to raise several children on what she made as a waitress. Carver remembers traveling with his dad up the holler to deliver food and toys for the family.
“It was like coming full circle in my father’s ministry, when we ate at the Top Hat Restaurant this week and drove back up that holler where shanty’s had been replaced by mobile homes” Carver said. “People still need hope and wherever we can share the love of Jesus we can change the world.”
The week ended with youth being taught to use nail guns and chop saws, but it was the adults that learned about sharing transformational love. The youth adopted the grandchildren and on the second day brought them Christmas in June.
Carver says, “Toys were shared, bread was broken, hope was restored and in the process a house was framed. The mission continues as small groups from both churches continue to work to get this family a house as soon as we can. I think the Connectional system is in great shape in the North Alabama Annual Conference.”