In trying times, churches extend their reach

July 09, 2020 | by Linda Bloom

In trying times, churches extend their reach

The Rev. Michelle Wilson offers sack lunches from the door of the church van as part of the Hands of Hope food security program at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn. The church received a Sheltering in Love grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief that has enabled it to expand existing food security ministries with seniors and persons experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

When the pandemic threatened their predominantly African American community in North Nashville, Tennessee, members of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church knew what they had to do: Re-tool for the new reality and increase capacity.

That meant finding a different way to feed and spiritually nurture the 50 older adults active in the church’s weekly Best Years program and the 150 homeless persons brought to the building for the same reason every Saturday, said the Rev. Paula Smith, Gordon’s pastor. It also means responding to the increased need as the pandemic’s economic impact grows.

A Sheltering in Love grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s COVID-19 Response Fund is helping the members of Gordon Memorial accomplish that goal.

While the church building has been closed, Smith said, “we continue to strive to go forward in mission and to stay connected.”

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