What a joy it is to welcome you to Gadsden Street United Methodist Church! I celebrate our opportunity to connect through the internet. Gadsden Street UMC is a community of faith rooted and grounded in God’s love. Our ongoing response to God’s love is expressed through prayer and worship, growing together in studying and seeking to live out God’s word, and as we serve locally and globally the least, the last and the lost. We are pleased to share our facilities on the corner of Ninth and Gadsden Street, with a Korean Methodist congregation, Lighthouse Private Christian Academy, the Pensacola United Methodist District offices and weekly AA meetings. We also celebrate the opportunity to be active partners in many excellent and effective ministries throughout our community.
On this webpage you’ll find brief descriptions of some of our ongoing ministries. Located across from Granada Square we celebrate every opportunity to connect with our neighbors and our community. In responding to God’s plans and purposes we are continually in the process of cultivating new opportunities to grow in grace and to serve faithfully.
No matter where you may find yourself along the journey of faith, we invite you to come grow with us!
“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”
(Psalm 10: 17)
Last weekend I had the opportunity to serve as a part of a Gadsden Street UMC work/mission team. Ten of us made our way over to Panama City for two days of offering ourselves, our heads, hands and feet to help in whatever ways we could. The team itself was a huge blessing. Two of the folks who gave up a weekend of time and effort were recent visitors to worship at GSUMC. After worshipping together and hearing about this opportunity to serve, they both said, “I want to be a part of that!” Serving on this team gave an opportunity to serve alongside familiar faces and new faces.
On Friday, our team was tasked with packing up a distribution center housed inside a school. Despite the destruction of one building, since the storm this school has been doing double duty serving both as a middle school and high school. Located in a pocket of devastation, the school had graciously opened a large room for distributing donations of clothing, household goods, food, and basic personal health care supplies. While many folks were helped by these donations, piles and piles of clothing remained. While no one in the area wanted any more clothing, thankfully Teen Challenge, here in Pensacola was willing to receive these donations. These donations will help to support this community ministry. We were also able to sort through the remaining personal supplies and connect them with a women’s shelter. Connecting the dots, we were also able to connect brand new uniform shirts with those who can use them.
Our team spent Friday night at the Ark, a United Methodist ministry located just off Panama City Beach since 1942. The Ark is a beautiful example of ministry space and resources that have been re-envisioned to meet the needs of others. The Ark now provides transitional housing for those recovering from addiction, domestic violence, and human trafficking, as well as providing housing for international students. An orphanage that received significant damage in the storm has been relocated at the Ark. The Ark also provides transitional housing for families. There were four families living where we stayed, including a single mother with five children. Through the walls we could hear laughing and singing as this family celebrated a safe place to stay. Two members of our team spent Saturday deep cleaning at the Ark, a first step in being able to reopen a portion of the ministry.
The rest of us were up bright and early on Saturday morning, heading out to serve. The need in the area is overwhelming, and familiar blue tarps are everywhere! I’m thankful to our Donna Pruett, our Outreach Ministry Team coordinator for her patience and perseverance in connecting us with ways we could help. Our first stop was helping to remove a fence at a home that is not currently habitable. The homeowner was so grateful for every bit of help. We had the opportunity to listen, to pray and to cry and to celebrate with her when she found one small stool that was salvaged from her home- a priceless treasure in a sea of loss.
Our second stop was in helping to remove what little could be salvaged from a home that will need to be leveled. One of our team members was able to repair a lock, providing the possibility of protecting what little they had from looters. Our last task was in helping a couple who are physically unable to attend to post-storm damage. While their downed trees had been removed, their yard and drainage ditch were filled with home and yard debris. All of us, working together, were able to make a huge difference.
Thank you for all of the ways you helped to make these opportunities to serve possible. I’m thankful to serve a faith community committed to cultivating opportunities to offer help and hope. I’m thankful for your contributions to the ministry of the Ark. I’m thankful for those who were able to go and serve, and for faithful prayers under girding all we were able to accomplish.