"Lil' Patch of Heaven" Dedicated for Youngsters
Churches with 25 members such as Perryville UMC in North Texas are having a great impact. Community volunteers of Gilmer, Tx joined church members to Invest in the Young by preparing and dedicating a new building where youth will build relationships and learn about God.
Perryville UMC is a small church in a small community of people with big hearts. Prior to June 30, the church had a sanctuary with a kitchen/classroom attached and needed a place their youth could ‘call their own’ and decorate as they saw fit.
Adding to the existing facility, however, was fraught with challenges ranging from the slope of the property, underground propane and septic tank complications as well as electricity-related obstructions. “At Perryville, the whole congregation was involved in this project – and then some,” says Rev. David Mays. “One person pushed to start action but the whole church articulated the vision and got the ball rolling. Leaders decided to take existing funds to buy a shell building that could be constructed on-site -- and had faith it could be completed.”
Several members worked to remove trees and brought friends that donated their time to dig up the propane tank. When the building frame was initially constructed, members gathered inside and drew lines on the wooden decking where they wanted a bathroom, work sink and closet and how they would like to see it connected to the sanctuary. “Once the estimates were in,” says Pastor Mays, “people gave. Our in-kind services were phenomenal. Soon we had inside walls and floors, electricity, a new septic tank and a functioning bathroom.” Others helped build a ramp and porch with a connecting walkway to the sanctuary -- all completed with funds from the congregation and gifts of service from people in the community.
“Many members and lots of friends came together to make this happen and the children participated as eagerly as the adults,” he adds. “This was an opportunity for our youth/children to see Jesus in others. As we learned at conference this year, investing in the young involves more than teaching from a book, it is about youth seeing others live out their Christianity, which is what we did at Perryville. I think the name the children gave to the building is a reflection of what they observed in the church, a Lil Patch of Heaven.”
A Bill Taylor Sighting
On June 30, 2013 Perryville United Methodist Church dedicated their ‘debt-free’ new children’s classroom, marked by the entire congregation and many visitors gathering to lay hands and bless the building. Additionally, the children placed a rock next to the front door and anointed the rock with frankincense and myrrh naming it “Lil Patch of Heaven.”
“The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh remind us of the beginning of Jesus’ presence on earth and a hope that all who pass through the doors will discover Jesus in their lives,” says Pastor David. “The members, children and others from the community gave of their resources, time and prayer to help this project come to fruition and the church has been truly blessed, especially to have District Superintendent Bill Taylor on site for the special dedication. His presence helped to instill hope in the future.”
Pastor Mays is very proud of Perryville. “This building is another way for us to let our light shine so that others may see it and follow.”