If someone had told me that I would one day be a part of the Leadership Team for a new church plant, I would have said, “I don’t think so.” But that is exactly what I am doing right now, and I'm loving every minute of it.
Several years ago, I found myself as a member of a church but not participating at all, not even going to worship on Sunday mornings. Why? I guess I was frustrated with not feeling like I was a part of the church, never being asked to volunteer even after signing up on volunteer forms, not being nurtured in my faith or cared for when it was needed.
I have been in the Church most of my adult life and have always been involved in church leadership by chairing committees, working with Sunday School classes, volunteering with the congregation's youth group, and just about anything else I was asked to do. The Church was my family, but I had been missing that feeling of belonging and of worth. I desired the closeness that I had once felt to God and with my fellow Christians.
I missed working for God and feeling like I was part of a church family, and I wanted what I once had. At the same time, I kept feeling nudges from God to find another church. Then, I watched as Peace Tree was getting started. So, one day I said to my husband that I wanted to check out Peace Tree. We met with Pastor Kris over coffee and we liked what we heard.
Pastor Kris invited us to try out a House Group, so we went to the Martinsburg Cove House which meets Sundays at 6:30 p.m. I can’t tell you how loved I felt and how we were welcomed into this group from day one. I had found what I had been missing! I wanted more and even said to Kris that I was ready to get plugged in doing something for the Church.
Several months later, Pastor Kris invited us to be a part of the Leadership Team. Again, the feeling of warmth, love, and camaraderie was present from day one at these team meetings. We accepted the challenge to serve God in this way and we haven’t looked back.
It has been such a wonderful experience being a part of the Leadership Team and witnessing the launch of our Large Group worship celebrations. Planning opportunities for ministry and serving God as church planters has been such a joy. I can’t tell you how great it feels to be a part of this new church and how it is such a big part of my life. I can see God moving through this group, and the love and care shared by others is authentic and genuine. I feel God's presence at every event, every worship service, and at every House Group gathering.
I thank God every day that I listened to His nudging and pursued Peace Tree. If you're like me and you are looking for that feeling you once had at church years ago, or if you're just looking for a new church home, then try Peace Tree. You won’t regret it! Love lives here and God is in our midst.
Peace Tree is part of the United Methodist Church, and we are connected regionally to other UMC congregations in Middle Tennessee, West Tennessee, and Western Kentucky. Our area is being challenged by the planned gathering of white supremacists and associated hate groups in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville on October 28, 2017. The following is a letter written by Bishop Bill McAlilly to local churches. You can read the original post on Bishop McAlilly's blog HERE.
Dear United Methodist Family,
The same hate groups that devastated the Charlottesville, Virginia community just a few weeks ago are now targeting our Tennessee Conference by planning to gather in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville on October 28, 2017 to spread the vitriolic evil of racism. As United Methodists, we must remember and recommit ourselves to the ideals of our United Methodist social witness.
Within our Social Principles we understand racism as sin and contrary to the fundamental recognition that “our primary identity is as children of God.” “Racism … plagues and hinders our relationship with Christ, inasmuch as it is antithetical to the gospel itself.” I call on all of us to renew our personal and collective commitment to stand against racism and the violence born from it.
Some have inquired as to our possible response to the racist protests being planned. We are encouraging people to work within the interfaith partnerships already formed. The Shelbyville First United Methodist Church and the Shelbyville Church of the Nazarene will be sponsoring a prayer vigil on Thursday, October 26, 2017.
The Rutherford County Interfaith Council and the City of Murfreesboro encourage individuals to consult the #Murfreesboroloves Facebook community. Individuals who seek to publicly counter-protest in the Shelbyville area should consult the Shelbyville Times Gazette for information on where to legally gather. For more information, please feel free to call the Stones River District Superintendent, Rev. Max Mayo, at (615) 893-5886.
I call upon all United Methodists to join in praying for our communities as well as discovering creative ways to live our baptismal vow to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
Bishop Bill McAlilly
Also, I invite you to read and reflect on Reverend Paul Purdue’s sermon, Blessed Are the Peacemakers – Being Mistaken for the Children of God preached Sunday, October 8, 2017 in the aftermath of the shooting in Las Vegas. You will find a link to this message below:
Rev. Paul Purdue: Blessed are the peacemakers – Being mistaken for the Children of God
Did you know over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's Disease? One in three senior adults die with Alzheimer's or another dementia. But Alzheimer's doesn't just affect the individual; it affects that person's entire family. Last year, more than 15 million people provided unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's or other dementias. That care added up to 18.2 billion hours which is valued at $230 billion. Chances are you have a friend, co-worker, or neighbor who has been affected by Alzheimer's or another dementia.
It's important to care for our aging family members who live with these diseases, and it's just as important to care for the caregivers. This is why our mother church (Collierville UMC) started a support group in the early 1990's for individuals who cared for family members living with Alzheimer's and other dementias. That first support group gave birth to the Collierville Alzheimer's Day Care Center in 1995. As the ministry and work of the Collierville-based center grew, a larger facility was needed, and in 2003 the Page Robbins Adult Day Center moved to their current location at 1961 S. Houston Levee Rd.
We think it's wonderful that such an organization as Page Robbins Adult Day Center exists in our community, and we'd like to support their work this October. Herbie Krisle, executive director of Page Robbins, will be in worship with us this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. during our Large Group worship celebration. She'll share a word about the work that's happening at Page Robbins as well as offer us ways in which we might volunteer or contribute to their mission.
To help welcome Herbie, we're holding a Donation Drive to help replenish the most frequently used items at the center. We're encouraging everyone to bring one or more of the following items:
Donated items help keep operating costs low for Page Robbins. Clients' families pay fees, but those fees do not cover the entire budget. As a non-profit agency, Page Robbins receives no government funding. Instead, they raise approximately $400,000 each year. Thanks to the countless donations and volunteer hours that individuals and families gave in 2016, there were 110 clients and families who got their joy back. We're excited to give a bit of joy in 2017 through our Donation Drive!
I've seen first-hand the love, art, singing, and laughter that takes place in the Page Robbins Adult Day Center. It truly is a special place and the clients are blessed daily by the loving staff and community volunteers. So, join us this Sunday at the Malco Towne Cinema in Collierville for our 10:00 a.m. worship celebration to hear a witness about this wonderful organization, and please consider bringing an item or two for our Page Robbins Donation Drive.
+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
It takes dozens of volunteers to make our Sunday morning Large Group worship celebrations possible each and every week. As a way of showing our appreciation to these amazing individuals, we’re taking a break from holding a worship service this Sunday. We believe it’s important to rest and to spend time abiding in God. So, we’ve assembled the following worship materials for you and your family to use in order to worship God wherever you’re spending this holiday weekend.
We believe “Church Can Happen Anywhere,” and we hope you’ll invite others to join you in reading Scripture, praying, singing, and discussing the Gospel message from Matthew 10:40-42. Remember to “Check In” to Peace Tree UMC on Facebook and Instagram. Every check-in will provide a week of clean drinking water to a family in need thanks to our partnership with Causely and Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. And be sure to use the hashtag #givewater so that other people will know about this month’s charitable cause.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend! We’ll see each of you back at the Malco Collierville Towne Cinema on July 9th at 10AM as we continue our Summer at the Movies sermon series with a movie clip from Soul Surfer and a message based on Matthew 11:16-30. If you’d like to make donation to Peace Tree this week, you can give HERE, and if you have any prayer requests, then please share them with us HERE. God bless!
+Peace and Love from Pastor Kris
OPEN WITH PRAYER
O God, you are the hope of all the ends of the earth,
the God of the spirits of all flesh.
Hear our humble intercession for all races and families on earth,
that you will turn all hearts to yourself.
Remove from our minds hatred, prejudice, and contempt
for those who are not of our own race or color, class or creed,
that, departing from everything that estranges and divides,
we may by you be brought into unity of spirit, in the bond of peace.
(Church of Scotland, 20th Cent., Alt.)
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
(Matthew 10:40-42, New Revised Standard Version)
Watch this music video for Matthew West’s Do Something. Listen to the lyrics (or sing/read them below) and consider what God is calling you to do this week.
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now, thought
How’d we ever get so far down, and
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, yeah, I created you.”
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something, yeah
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
Oh, it’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something
I’m so tired of talking about
How we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire and
I wanna be the one who stands up and says
“I’m gonna do something”
We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill
We’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No, we won’t stand still
(Matthew West, Copyright Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.)
CLOSE WITH PRAYER
God of grace and glory,
we thank you that you judge us not by the perfection of our actions,
but by our readiness to live boldly by faith.
Help us, as individuals and as a congregation,
to trust you and follow where you lead,
that in Christ your name may be glorified in all the earth. Amen.
(Ruth Duck, USA, 20th Cent.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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.
This morning, Pastor Kris joined with our local pastors to pray for the town of Collierville and its citizens as we observed the National Day of Prayer. Prayers were lifted up for single parents, first responders, those serving in the military, young people, teachers, elected officials, local pastors, and the unemployed. We were also led in singing by the Central Church praise choir. It was a blessing to see everyone come together as one town worshiping God. Below, you can read the prayer that Pastor Kris shared, and at the bottom of the post you'll find the Facebook Live video that was shared by the Town of Collierville. We hope that you will be in prayer today for all people in this great land and for all of our neighbors in countries near and far.
God of all nations, we turn to you this day in worship and prayer as your children. We know your character, and we have seen how you look favorably upon the youngest in society.
You protected Moses when he was but a babe floating down the Nile in a basket made of reeds. You chose David, the young shepherd boy to lead your people, Israel. Your angel came to Mary, a young virgin, and asked her to be the mother of the Messiah. And from the Gospel of Luke, we see how Jesus Christ as a teenager grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and all the people.
Christ himself said, "Let the little children come to me." So on this day, we ask that you would watch over the young people in the town of Collierville. Bless them as they study, and learn, and explore the world around them. Guide them as they grow and develop into young adults. Place good role models and upstanding examples in their lives. And watch over all the parents and adults of our town, for we know that these young people look to us and take in all that we say and do.
May we not look down on Collierville's teenagers and young people simply because they are young. But may we learn from them, may we listen to them, and may we build them up and direct them towards your perfect plan for a prosperous future full of hope and peace.
Dear God, bless the families of this great town and bless our young people. Watch over them and fill their homes with your good and perfect love and the power of your holy presence. We ask all of this in the mighty name of Jesus, who was born as a baby in Bethlehem, who fled to Egypt as a young child, who conversed with teachers in the Temple as a teenager, and who was baptized in the Jordan as a young adult. It is in His name that we pray for all of our youth. Amen.
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.
Last weekend, the Guatemalan Mobile Consulate returned to the Memphis area to assist Guatemalan citizens who are living and working in the United States. Consulate officials helped individuals process updates to their documentation including passport renewals, birth certificate applications for children who have dual-citizenship, marriage licenses, certificates of death for loved ones who had passed away, and government-issued identification cards.
Trinity United Methodist Church (Midtown) served as the host site for this event, with Iglesia Metodista Unida "El Redentor" acting as the liaison with the Consular General in Atlanta and Peace Tree UMC coordinating volunteers for the two-day event. Volunteers came from the three churches mentioned above as well as from the following groups & organizations: Collierville UMC, Emmanuel UMC (Memphis), St. Paul UMC (Lakeland), Trinity Baptist Church (Cordova), Teach for America, Latino Memphis, University of Memphis Spanish Department, Sigma Chi Fraternity (EK Chapter), and the Congregational Health Network from Methodist Healthcare. By the end of the weekend we had helped serve 929 neighbors, and Christians of all ages from varying socio-economic levels and different cultural backgrounds had come together to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
The Guatemalan Consulate hopes to return to Memphis for another visit in 2017. So if you'd like to work alongside all these amazing people, then please Contact us today. Reverend Luz Campos is the pastor of El Redentor, and below you can read her letter to the volunteers. With her permission and with light editing, we share it with you now:
It was 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 24th when we realized that there were already some cars in the parking lot with people waiting for the line to start. When we returned at 2:00 a.m. the line was very long; men and women with children in their arms prepared to spend the night waiting in line in order to receive assistance from the Guatemalan Mobile Consulate.
Unfortunately, during the early hours of Saturday the 24th, a storm with strong winds and heavy rain approached Midtown. But no one moved from their place in line. Thanks to the compassion of Rev. Jonathan Bratt Carle and for Rev. Goyo de la Cruz who coordinated the details of opening the Education Center at Trinity UMC, at 4 o'clock in the morning we were able to allow people to enter. Everyone was obviously soaked but thankful for the shelter.
The church housed between 400 to 500 adults plus children that Saturday morning. And at 8:00 a.m. the officials from the consulate arrived to assist the Guatemalan community. Everyone was very grateful because the volunteers from Trinity UMC had shared water, fruit, and cookies. There was even a group of volunteers who took care of the children. We are also very grateful to our neighbors from the Vollintine Evergreen Community Association for their support in allowing us to park along the streets of their neighborhood throughout the weekend.
There is a Latino saying that says “Union Makes Force" (La Unión hace la Fuerza). It is true! The union of three churches (Trinity UMC, Peace Tree, and Iglesia Metodista Unida “El Redentor”) and many volunteers made it possible for us to be the hands and feet of God in this journey.
Thank you brothers and sisters! And to all the volunteers, thank you for working so hard to serve our neighbors. They were very satisfied, not only because they were able to carry out their official consulate business, but also because they met people who truly love God. They encountered people who exemplify the love of God burning in their hearts by serving others. So once again, "Thank You."
Rev. Luz Campos
Iglesia Metodista Unida "El Redentor"
"Wow! Y'all are a starting new church?! Where are you located?" This is one side of a conversation that my team and I have had with numerous people who are interested in what we're doing as Peace Tree. We tell them that we felt called to start a new church to reach people who've been burned out on church, or people who were hurt by a congregation and left that group, or even those who've never entered a church building or attended a worship service before. They appreciate the mission that we have as a new faith community, but many people have trouble understanding our vision: Church Can Happen Anywhere.
It's difficult to answer the question, "Where are you located?" since we've primarily existed as a network of House Groups for our first 18 months of ministry. We've tried to shift the focus of "going to church" as simply showing up at a location on Sunday morning to gathering as the Body of Christ wherever and whenever we can meet. This flexibility in how we come together for worship & study has helped accommodate friends with ever-changing work schedules, those who have plans on the weekends, and families who have other commitments on Sunday mornings. This model of "house churches" has allowed us to go deeper in our discipleship and our walk with Christ. Friendships have formed to the point that each House Group feels more like a family, and each group's attendees can't imagine missing one of the mid-week gatherings. Still, with House Groups stretching from East Memphis to Collierville, it's hard to answer the question, "Where are you located?" since our church doesn't have just one location.
"Oh, so you have small groups that meet throughout the week? Great! But where is your main church building?" This is another question that we often get asked as we talk about Peace Tree. We re-emphasize how each House Group has its own identity and missional emphasis. Each House Group is self-sustainable, but all are connected to the larger Peace Tree community. As we've grown and added more House Groups, we saw a need to gather together as one Large Group in order see one another face-to-face and to worship God together as a family. So, we launched a weekly worship service at the Malco Towne Cinema in Collierville where we've gathered our different groups into one Large Group while also welcoming our friends from town. But the movie theater is a rented space; we set up our worship area, nursery, children's area, and hospitality tables early Sunday morning and then we pack it all up before the first films start showing at Noon. We don't have a church building and we actually prefer it this way.
Not having a main church building or one primary location has allowed us to focus more on the people that we're reaching. We've been able to see God at work in businesses, parks, and neighborhoods in a pretty magnificent way. God is Everywhere, which means Church Can Happen Anywhere! All of the financial support and contributions we receive help drive this vision. Instead of asking people to come to us, we'll go to them!
Jesus' final words to his disciples were this: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." By not having one location, we feel as though we're living out Jesus' last words. We're witnessing in Collierville, and in Germantown and Memphis, and God-willing to the ends of the earth! We're not staying put. We're on the move, and we're spreading God's love to everyone we meet practically every day of the week. Exciting things are happening at Peace Tree, and we'd love for you to come and see for yourself. Click on the tabs marked Sundays and House Groups to learn about our multiple locations, and click on the tab marked Connect if you have a prayer request or a question that you'd like to ask us. We'll see you soon!
+Peace and Love from Pastor Kris
Follow the journey of a new church as we answer the call to reach people in Collierville, Memphis, and the Mid-South.