If You Feed Them...Will They Come?


The small town charm of Gilmer, Texas includes unique life experiences such as the New Yamboree Park Parade, the Reindeer Fun Run or the Upshur County Goes Hog Wild Hunting Tournament awarding prizes for the heaviest hog.


In recent weeks, the eight members of Union Ridge UMC were inspired to activate the social calendar of their church and see what happened. “We decided to strategically create events and plans to help us meet the community,” says Reverend David Mays, “because we believe we are here to do God’s work and that’s the first step. Just as Jesus gathered people together to break bread Union Ridge is finding innovative ways to accomplish that goal.”


Church members began by hosting a garage sale and giving away free hot dogs, chips and drinks to all that stopped by. Next, they had a night of stew and games. Adds David, “The decision was made to spend whatever it cost without expectation of a return -- as a gift to the community, and our church received the gift of new friendships in return.”


On March 22, eight members (100% church participation) gathered to provide a fish fry and game night. No one knew how many would attend, but all prepared and planned in faith. “I am always amazed that our very own Ms. Hughlene Huggins, soon to be 99 years young, is always present and participating,” he adds. “And we were all amazed that right at 50 people showed up!” Darlene Anthony, who helped with set up and clean up, says, “It was good to see friends old and new.”


One of the members on fry duty overheard one of the guests saying, “I haven’t had fish like that but once in my life back in Kansas, on a trail ride ‘bout 30 year ago,” and he watched as the gentleman ate three plates full. The cooks were concerned about running out of fish, but afterwards they said, “Just like in the Bible, after everyone finished eating, our baskets were still full.”


“You might say I was pumpkin proud of the church members for their hard work and displayed faith,” adds David.


What’s next? As was the case with most of God’s followers in the Bible, “Union Ridge does not know what God has in store for us; we only know we must act. It has been a blessing for me to be around Christians that will step forward and give of themselves to the community where God has placed them.”