We are in an unprecedented time as we deal with COVID-19 and adjust how we go about our normal activities. There are many changes happening, and this can overwhelm our capacity to cope.
The news media continually monitors the spread of this virus, government officials regularly put out new community restrictions, events are being cancelled, stores cannot keep shelves stocked with basic supplies, and some friends are losing their jobs.
All of this leads to an increase in stress, anxiety, depression and/or grief during a time of uncertainty and social distancing.
People handle situations like this in different ways. Some may be more irritable, some may be more emotional and cry, and still others may isolate and close themselves off from their loved ones.
We need to remember there is no right or wrong way to navigate or cope with stress and that everyone is doing their best.
The good news is that you are not alone even while social distancing. Having a connection with others is innate in each human being. All of us need to know we are valued and loved.
It can be challenging to stay connected when we are supposed to limit our exposure to others, but it is not impossible. Here are few ways you can stay connected with others:
Along with staying connected to others, remember to practice self-care in order to regulate and handle the stress associated with issues related to COVID-19. There are many ways to practice self-care. A few examples include:
Amid uncertainty, please know you are unique and amazing. There is no other person like you who can fill your shoes. Be a courageous person…talk with someone about how you feel and what you are experiencing.
If you want someone who will talk with you and help you find resources, the people of Peace Tree are here to assist. You can start by messaging our Congregational Care Team at email@example.com or by filling out the Prayer Form on our Connect page.
Hang in there! We will get through this together.
Behavioral Health Safety Net Insurance for those without mental health insurance and do not qualify for TennCare. (further details can be provided)
-Contact Leigh Ann Pray by calling 615-804-7164
Memphis-Area Food Curbside and Pick-Up Options via I Love Memphis Blog:
United Way Community Response and Recovery Fund
Memphis Food Industry Emergency Worker Assistance
GoFundMe organized by Edible Memphis
Talkspace Coronavirus Resource Hub
Free Resources for Mindfulness and Meditations
RELIEF FUNDS AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
MEALS FOR SENIORS
Members of City of Memphis Senior Centers will still receive a daily meal from their respective seniors.
Members registered to receive MIFA meals can opt to pick up their meal from the center they attend or have it delivered using the van service.
Members at other senior centers have the option to pick up their meals at their respective center for their regular nominal fee.
Leigh Ann Pray has worked in mental health in Tennessee for over 20 years. She has a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist. During her career, she has worked as an In-home Counselor, a Case Manager, a Case Management Supervisor, a partial hospitalization Program Director, a Director of Quality Assurance and Training, a Chief Clinical Officer and a West TN Regional Director. Leigh Ann has been a part of implementing trauma informed care with Foster Parents, as well as developing trauma informed curriculums for clinicians. She has trained counselors, therapists and community partners on a wide variety of topics such as effective discipline, communication, trauma informed practices, and many more. She was a cohort leader with the National Council for Behavioral Health, in a collaboration to create trauma informed communities. The Collaboration focused on creating sustainable trauma-competent environments to allow children and families to thrive. Leigh Ann has spoken at events in multiple states on topics such as secondary traumatic stress, cross generational trauma, how to create trauma informed communities and trauma informed foster parenting. Leigh Ann believes in empowering people to identify and develop their strengths and abilities so they can maximize their potential.
The following is a transcript from a video I streamed earlier this evening via Facebook Live. Contained in this article are helpful links, practical advice, and updated information for how Peace Tree is addressing COVID-19 concerns in our community. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. God bless!
+Peace and Love from Pastor Kris
Hey friends, I hope everyone is having a blessed day today! It is March, Friday the 13th in the year of our Lord 2020, and I wanted to take a moment to share some information about Peace Tree and what our congregation is doing to address recent COVID-19 / coronavirus concerns.
We’ve recently received word from Bishop McAlilly, the resident bishop of the Nashville Episcopal area, advising churches across West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and Western Kentucky to consider suspending worship and other large gatherings for at least two weeks in order to slow the rate of transmission of the coronavirus.
So, after consulting with several of our church leaders and office staff, we’ve decided to suspend our Sunday morning large group worship services at Peace Tree for March 15th and the 22nd. Following this period of time, we’ll regroup and decide on whether to hold future in-person worship services on a week to week basis.
Even though we will not be gathering as a large group for worship on the 15th and 22nd, a small group of worship leaders will meet with me on Sunday mornings to broadcast a worship experience online via our Facebook Live video stream. We hope you’ll participate in this online worship service by asking questions in the Comments section, Liking and Sharing the video to your profile, and sending us Prayer Requests through Messenger or the form on our website.
The easiest ways to access this live stream is to visit our church website, peacetree.church, and click on the box that says Worship Online. You can also log onto Facebook and search for Peace Tree UMC. If you’re on our Facebook page at 10AM Central Time on Sunday morning, you’ll be notified that the Live Stream is in progress.
For my friends who live in other states, and even for local friends whose churches don’t offer a live stream service, we invite you worship with us on Sundays at 10:00AM Central Time. Leave a comment on the video to let us know where you’re watching from.
As we continue to respond to the situation, please know that office hours at our Shelby Drive location may change in the upcoming weeks. We encourage you to call ahead if you plan to stop by office. The best number to use is 901-286-5532.
If you do come by the office, please know that we have several hand sanitizing stations throughout the church building as well as flyers from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization with helpful information for the public.
We’re encouraging everyone in their everyday lives to practice “social distancing” by not shaking hands with your friends & co-workers. Instead you may simply smile, nod, and wave to your neighbor as you greet them.
Since we won’t be meeting in person for the next couple of weeks, we won’t be passing an offering plate. However, if you’d like to support the work and ministry of Peace Tree, you can make a donation to the church from your smart phone by texting the word PEACE to 77977 or by visiting the website peacetree.church/give.
Not only are we suspending our Large Group in-person worship services, but we’re also asking Small Group leaders and their participants to suspend their in-person meetings for the next two weeks.
This includes our Sunday school classes, UMW Circles, House Groups, and our various monthly gatherings. If you’re a member of one these groups, please reach out to your hosts and leaders to see if there are ways to share prayer concerns, conversation, and other interactions via group text, email, or video chats & online hangouts.
We’ve also been in touch with outside groups who utilize our church facilities, specifically our gym. We’re here to support them in their decisions, and each group leader is communicating with their members letting them know whether their regularly scheduled events are still being held or if they’re being cancelled.
There is no outbreak of the Coronavirus in the Memphis area, and right now there are only two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County. We’re trying our best to take responsible steps and to do what we deem necessary in order to keep our church family and community members safe from the potential spread of this disease.
You may already know that the symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and since the age of our church family spans a wide range from a newborn only a couple of months old to someone who is over 90 years old, we want to ensure everyone’s safety and prevent unnecessary risks for our older church members.
We’re continuing to monitor the situation, staying up to date with announcements from the CDC, the Shelby County Health Department, and the Memphis Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Just earlier today, President Trump held a press conference declaring a national emergency. As I understand it, certain federal regulations will be put on a temporary hold to allow hospitals to make decisions that are swift and in their patients’ best interest. The government is also partnering with the private sector to make testing kits for this virus more readily available at drive thru testing locations. You can learn more about these protocols at coronavirus.gov.
We will keep the lines of communication open with you, sharing information through your small group leaders, social media posts, email blasts, text message groups, and newsletters which we will mail to our home-centered church members.
If you have any concerns or questions, you can message me directly over Facebook and Instagram. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can reach our office staff at email@example.com.
Remain vigilant, practice healthy habits, and be kind to one another. Stay safe and God bless!
The following article was shared by Pastor Kris during Vision Sunday on January 26, 2020 which concluded our "2020 Vision" sermon series. Architectural designs and concept art were shared with our congregation at a special meeting following the 10AM worship service that day. During the meeting, church leaders guided table discussions as we dreamt and imagined how a potential building renovation would impact our ministry and extend our missional outreach into the community.
If you'd like more information about the renovation proposals, please visit us in person at 9315 E Shelby Dr and pick up a copy of our FAQ document. You can also take a look at the design boards displayed in the main lobby with images of the entrances, hallways, chapel, and signage. Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are exciting times! God is at work with the people of Peace Tree, and we have sought to live into God’s vision for our growing congregation. What began in the summer of 2015 as a dream for a new church led by a church planter with a launch team of 12 people, soon became a network of house churches which met in neighborhoods, apartments, and restaurants touching dozens of lives.
Our mission was simple back then, and it remains our focus to this day: To Love God by Loving Others. As a new church plant, we sought to love those who had left the church for one reason or another, to welcome back those who had fallen away from the community of faith, and to reach those who had never been exposed to Christianity or encountered Jesus in their lives.
Instead of asking people to “come to church,” we worked tirelessly to “take the Church to them,” and to “meet people where they are.” We accomplished this through community events and weekly House Groups. As God grew Peace Tree during the course of our first year, our church leaders saw a need for a Sunday morning worship service.
“Church Can Happen Anywhere,” so we decided to rent space in a non-traditional location for our Sunday morning Large Group Worship Celebration - we believed this would make us more approachable and that it would clear any hurdles for individuals who were weary of walking into a traditional church building. After considering the YMCA at Schilling Farms, Collierville Schools, and the Malco Collierville Towne Cinema, the best value for our money was the local movie theater.
The Malco Collierville Towne Cinema provided us with a large lobby to greet families and neighbors, Safe Sanctuary compliant classrooms for our Nursery and children’s church, and an auditorium that could seat over 250 people comfortably. The staff was wonderful and we included them as fellow team members.
The Sunday morning worship service introduced us to people who had not yet encountered Peace Tree, and it also welcomed others who could not attend a mid-week House Group. These individuals came with talents, gifts, and ideas for new monthly gatherings like Family Fun Night and Book Club. They helped us live out our core values: Love All, Serve All, Live Together, Follow Christ.
The Malco Collierville Towne Cinema was planning a number of renovations and this ultimately caused us to move locations to the Malco Forest Hill Cinema in Germantown. New families discovered us because of the change in location, and we saw the number of people involved in House Groups and Sunday morning Large Group steadily grow.
We were pushing up against our maximum capacity in the Malco Forest Hill Cinema during big worship services (Easter, Christmas Eve, Founders’ Day, etc.) and we started looking for a larger space to rent that would also be accessible during the week for other programs and ministry opportunities.
We looked at buildings and office suites that other churches had previously occupied - one in an office park and another off of Highway 72. We toured spaces that were available for lease in shopping centers and at Carriage Crossing. We even found an online listing for a church building & parsonage in Collierville priced at $2 million.
God continued to grow our church and we continued to look for a new home, and that’s exactly when the pastor of CrossRoads Church reached out to me about a potential church merger. The Peace Tree Leadership Team proposed the “baby step” of renting the gym from CrossRoads while their congregation continued meeting in the chapel with their pastor continuing to serve the CrossRoads congregation. But after meeting with the lay leaders and committee chairs from CrossRoads, it was clear that they wanted to merge with Peace Tree.
During the merger process, we learned a lot about CrossRoads - how many of its members had once been part of St. James UMC and decided to move out to Collierville and re-charter as CrossRoads Church, how the people of CrossRoads worshiped in a warehouse for several years while the building on Shelby Drive was constructed, and how worship took place in the gym while the chapel was being built.
Wherever we go, God is already there! So whether we gather for worship in a warehouse, a movie theater, a coffee shop, someone’s home, a chapel, a gymnasium, or a restaurant - we know that God is with us. Since we shared the same spiritual DNA with this sister congregation, we decided to proceed with the church merger.
The leaders of Peace Tree emphasized our desire to renovate the building, updating signage, replacing carpet, painting the walls, and transforming the chapel into a space that could function in many different ways, welcoming community organizations and outside groups into our sacred space.
CrossRoads had opened their doors to outside groups in the years leading up to the church merger. The YMCA had hosted Y Camps in the children’s wing during the summer months; fitness classes, team sports, and pickle ball take place inside the gym; and Cub Scout Pack 37 was chartered and continues to meet inside the building.
We hope to build upon this important work and to open the doors of this church facility even wider. There is so much potential for this space, and there are plenty of opportunities to reach new people whom other churches have missed in the past.
I had absolute trust that the church merger would help our congregation grow and that moving into this building would give us a safe space for individuals and families to call home - and by all accounts, that’s exactly what’s happened.
I believe that the proposed renovations will extend our reach into this community and the surrounding areas. As we take our next faithful steps together, I hope you’ll pray for me and for our church family as we continue to seek God’s vision for Peace Tree.
+Peace and Love from Pastor Kris
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. No amount of emergency preparation could have readied the Lone Star State for the sheer volume of rain and flooding that has drenched the Texas coast. Many have reported that the damage caused by this storm has gone far beyond any sort of "worse-case scenario" that they had imagined. While we in the Mid-South are now experiencing the remnants of this storm, many are asking how we can help. We'd like to offer several ways that Memphians and Mid-South residents can support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
We are still several weeks away before churches, schools, and other organizations can host disaster recovery teams. The best immediate response we recommend is to donate directly to organizations that are already on the ground providing relief. We suggest making a donation to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) which has a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator. You can also give to our sister churches in the Rio Texas Conference (www.riotexas.org). 100% of the money donated to disaster recovery through these organizations goes directly to the people who need it the most; it never pays for staff or administration since those positions are supported by church offerings and apportionments.
Another way we can make an impact from afar is to assemble Cleaning Buckets. United Methodist Churches from across Tennessee and Western Kentucky are filling up an 18-wheeler with hundreds of cleaning buckets to assist Texans in the recovery efforts. There are several locations that are collecting buckets and other items in the upcoming week. Please drop off completed buckets or items from this list at Mellow Mushroom Germantown on Monday, September 4th from 7:00-9:00. You can also drop off items at the Collierville UMC Ministry Center weekdays during business hours. If you live in Bartlett, Lakeland, or Cordova, you can drop off your cleaning buckets at St. Paul UMC (call them at 901-387-0007 for drop off times). The truck is leaving from Nashville on Monday, September 11th and will be stopping in Lakeland to load up donations from the Memphis Metro area.
Scroll down to see two videos: one showing you how to assemble a cleaning bucket, and the other is how you can assemble a health kit (we recorded this video approximately one year ago when Louisiana was experiencing catastrophic flooding). We'll receive more info about team training and recovery teams that will journey down to Texas. Email us today if you'd like to be notified of updates and news regarding these recovery teams.
Let's all continue to pray for Texas and all those affected by Harvey. Pray for the safety of the military, police, firefighters, EMTs, and everyday people who are giving their time, energy, and resources to rescue people who've been left stranded and helpless. And pray for families and individuals who have lost everything in the floods. Even during these dark times, we know that God is with our brothers & sisters, and we trust that God will offer healing and redemption to those in need.
+Peace and Love from Pastor Kris
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. Students are on summer break, families plan family vacation, and everyone preps their grills for backyard grilling. We thought we'd get in the spirit of the season and share our favorite camps, activities, and family events for the summer of 2017. The best part is that you can do all these things in the great town of Collierville! So, without further ado, here are Peace Tree's list of 30 Things to do in Collierville This Summer.
1. Enjoy a free outdoor concert on the historic town square every Thursday night in June and July. Now in its 26th year, Sunset on the Square welcomes bands like The Vegabonds and Blind Mississippi Morris, and it features fun nights like Car Night that's sure to delight every member of your family. Find out who's playing next week's show on Main Street Collierville's Facebook page.
2. Catch a free outdoor movie every other Friday at the Avenue at Carriage Crossing from now through August 25th. This year's line-up includes fun family flicks such as Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. Check out the entire summer schedule on Carriage Crossing's website.
3. Sign your young actor up for summer workshops with the New Day Children's Theatre. These camps take place at both the Harrell Theatre and at New Day's Studio. Visit their website to see which workshops still have spots available: www.newdaytheatre.org
4. Check out the Morton Museum's latest exhibit, Collierville Town Square: 1940s-1950s. Admission to the museum is always free, and you can learn more about the museum's hours at their website: colliervillemuseum.org
5. Knock down some pins and stay up late for Glo Bowling at Funquest every Friday and Saturday night from 9:30 p.m. til Midnight. Great for young adults and college students who haven't seen one another since the end of the spring semester. Learn more at funquestbowl.com.
6. Sign up your child for one of the many summer camps offered in Collierville. There's not enough space to list them all, but some of our favorites can be found at Maple Grove Farm, Creative Minds Art Studio, and the YMCA. And parents, studies show that summer camps help children with their critical thinking skills, boosts their learning, and makes them more resilient. What are you waiting for? Sign you child up for camp today!
7. Get outdoors and explore Hinton Park on Holmes Rd. It has a disc golf course, adventure playground for big kids, musical instruments, and greenbelt walking trails. Plus, there are several shaded areas to enjoy a nice picnic as a family.
8. Celebrate Independence Day during Collierville's annual celebration on July 3, 2017 at H.W. Cox Park. The town will be honoring men and women who have served in the military with a special media presentation during the event. For more info, email email@example.com.
9. Support local farmers and artisans at the Collierville Farmers Market. They set up in the parking lot at Collierville United Methodist Church (454 W. Poplar Ave.) every Thursday from 8:00 a.m until 1:00 p.m. Purchase everything from fruits, vegetables, and grains to guacamole, pepper sauce, and seafood. Learn about all of the vendors at colliervillefarmersmarket.org.
10. Lace up your running shoes and strap on your bike helmet before exploring all the trails that Collierville has to offer. There's over 18 miles of trails and connectors, and you can find them all at colliervilleparks.org.
11. Catch up with Lightning McQueen, Mater, and the rest of the pit crew in Disney-Pixar's Cars 3, premiering June 16th at the Malco Towne Cinema & Grill. Cars 3 is rated G and stars the voice talents of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, and Bonnie Hunt.
12. Play trampoline dodgeball, take a dive in the foam pit, and learn how to slack line at Get Air Trampoline Park next to Booya's. It's a great place to hold a birthday party, and on Friday and Saturday nights you can jump along to some hoppin' tunes from 9:00 p.m. until Close. Learn more at getairmemphis.com.
13. Hit the Town Square on a Friday night and enjoy the Bluegrass & Old Time Music Jam. Pickers from across the Mid-South descend upon the Square to play their favorite tunes while teaching younger musicians the classics. The jam starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends when the last person leaves!
14. Grab your paint brush and palette and create original art inside the Morton Museum. Artists of all levels are invited to paint and socialize. Learn more on the Morton Museum's calendar.
15. Sign your child up for one of the many VBS camps taking place throughout our community. Grace Evangelical Church is sponsoring a VBS in early June, Collierville United Methodist Church has one in mid-June, and Collierville Christian Church will have one in late July, just to name a few.
16. Taste what all the foodies are talking about and visit the newest restaurants on the Town Square: 148 North and Brooks Pharm2Fork. At 148 North, you can enjoy such treats as hand-dived scallops, pan-seared Alaskan halibut, and roasted rack of American lamb. Pharm2Fork offers a wide selection which includes old school salmon patties, oven roasted chicken, and prime NY strip steak.
17. Encourage a love of reading in your little ones by taking them to one of the many free story times offered throughout the town. You can take them to the Lucius E. and Elsie C. Burch, Jr. Library, the Morton Museum of Collierville History, and Barnes & Noble.
18. Register your young athlete for the Grizzlies Youth Basketball Camp, coming to the H.W. Cox Community Center June 19-22. Students will develop their basketball skills and receive bonus treats including a reversible jersey, a full-sized Grizzlies basketball to take home, and two tickets to a future Grizzlies home game. Sign up at camppros.com.
19. Volunteer one of your Thursday mornings with the Collierville Food Pantry. Thanks to this organization and the work of its many volunteers, our neighbors can get the assistance they need to feed their families. Help is always needed in sorting food donations. The food pantry is open every Thursday from 9:00-11:30 a.m. Call (901) 853-3235 for more info.
20. Cast your line out at Herb Parsons Lake and go fish. You could catch anything from a bullhead catfish to a crappie, or even a largemouth bass. The lake officially opens 30 minutes before sunrise and it closes 30 minutes after sunset. For fishing tips and lake information, visit www.tn.gov.
21. Enjoy $2 movies at the Malco Towne Cinema & Grill during the 2017 Kids Summer Film Fest. This season's schedule includes The Peanuts Movie, Kung Fu Panda 3, and Trolls. Check out the whole line-up at malco.com.
22. Treat yourself to a macaroni and cheese egg roll with Sriracha honey dipping sauce at The Skybox Grill. You can also order up po-boy sandwiches, stone pizzas, and unique burgers and hot dogs. Take a look at their full menu at theskyboxgrilltn.com.
23. Find a hidden treasure at Sheffield Antiques Mall. Sheffield Antiques carries a wide variety of furnishings, artwork, collectibles, and much more. Get distinctive, unusual, and rare items to fill your space with wonderful options that make your area all its own. See what they have to offer at sheffield-antiques.com.
24. Stroll through the Town Square on a history tour. During the first and third Fridays of June at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. a friend from the Morton Museum will lead participants through the Square's beginnings and describe the businesses you would have seen in the 1940's and 1950's. Call (901) 457-2650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a group tour for this wonderful exhibit.
25. Grab your swimsuit and cool down in one of Collierville's spray parks. You'll need your Spray Park Pass to access the splash pad at W.C. Johnson Park, but the spray park at Suggs Park is always free! Visit colliervilleparks.org for more info.
26. Volunteer one afternoon with the Collierville Animal Shelter. You can help care for the animals any day of the week from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. If you're interested in adopting a pet, then you'll have to arrive between 1:00-4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Call the shelter at (901) 457-2670 to get more information, or visit awos.petfinder.com to learn more.
27. Laugh out loud during the Harrell Theatre's production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. This hilarious Stephen Sondheim musical will run from July 14th through July 23rd. The show is rated PG, and you can purchase tickets at the box office.
28. Enjoy a free concert from the North Star Boys Choir on June 18th at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free and the concert will be held in the Sanctuary on the Square (104 N. Rowlett St.). This group will share sacred music of all periods including spirituals, folk music, and classic works dating as far back as the 5th century.
29. Brighten someone's day by painting and hiding rocks in your favorite spot in town. 901 Rocks encourages creativity and spreads joy to neighbors of all ages. 901 Rocks has its own Twitter hashtag, a Facebook group, and even its own website. Design something fun on a rock today and become a part of the 901 Rocks movement!
30. Explore the wizarding world of Harry Potter at the Lucius E. and Elsie C. Burch, Jr. Library on July 11th from 2:00-4:00 p.m. This traveling exhibit gives fans of all ages a chance to make a wand, create an immortality stone, and even see some fantastic beasts! The event will take place in the library's Halle Meeting Room, and you can visit colliervillelibrary.org for more information.
There you have it! What do you think of our list of 30 things to do this summer? Is there something happening in Collierville which we've missed? Let us know in the comments section below.
It’s 8 am on Monday morning, our team’s first day at Centenary United Methodist for programming. Most of us did not get enough sleep due to first day jitters. The start of the day did not go as planned at first. We arrived at the church to find that we were locked out and the alarm system was set off. At times, I felt like I was going to burst from the anticipation of meeting the kids. The community was ready to start camp as well with families arriving up to an hour early!
Our team and the volunteers began to see the impact of Project Transformation from the start. Project Transformation’s discipline policy includes a set of rules known as the "Five Be’s." Be a Leader. Be a Learner. Be a Listener. Be a Friend. Be Responsible. Though these rules were set for the kids to learn, I saw every team member embody them. Adara took initiative every minute of every day to meet the needs of Young Artists, always with a smile on her face . Tanner was our leader, friend, and listener when we felt overwhelmed, frustrated, or confused. He provided laughter and encouragement whenever the environment was tense. Jasmine brought fresh ideas for classroom management through "air fives" and the energy we needed for Harambe. Cameisha was a listener and friend not only to me but to every volunteer that came to help in the reading program. Jakeno embraced his responsibility and the impact he had on the kids from his own neighborhood. Shyquel displayed grace and humility to every child of her group, even when they did not listen. Regan lead her Red Rockets with a listening ear and showed them the importance of how they each could be individual leaders within the group.
We were all learners in some sort of way. We learned to find our "teacher voice" and to adapt our skills to meet the needs of our community. One big way we were learners is by implementing a new buddy system with our kids. To aid in developing our older kids into responsible leaders, we pair an older kid with a younger kid. The younger kid has someone to look up to while the older kid gains a sense of responsibility. They are able to be a friend, be responsible, and be a leader. Our team was beginning to form our unique community at Centenary United Methodist.
Project Transformation is bringing people from all different backgrounds with diverse gifts to learn how to serve and develop children to their best potential. Some volunteers come from the suburbs with teaching experience. Some come from the city who had experience with the kids prior to Project Transformation. Our team embodies diversity coming from the inner city, the suburbs, other states, different majors, different upbringings, and different strengths. Already I have been encouraged by the conversations I have had with each of my fellow interns, volunteers, and church members. We are learning what it means for the children to become first and how Project Transformation is at work for the Kingdom of God. Love is at the core of every interaction. Grace, patience, and laughter is an everyday necessity. Despite our differences and the challenges of the first week of programming, our team continues to celebrate our diversity, cultivate leadership, learn how to serve our community, and how developing literacy empowers the kids to be who they were created to be.
Rachel Younger is a member of Peace Tree's Loeb St. House Group and she also assists with worship at our Sunday morning Large Group gatherings. Last summer, Rachel served as an intern with Project Transformation following her graduation from Union University. This post originally appeared on the Project Transformation Tennessee blog on June 22, 2016 and is republished with Rachel's permission. Contact us today to learn more about Project Transformation and how you can attend a volunteer training meeting on May 1 at our mother church.
Follow the journey of a new church as we answer the call to reach people in Collierville, Memphis, and the Mid-South.