Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Amherst, Virginia.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
We serve the Lord with love and praise.

A message from our Pastor

‘Tis the Season….to Share the Love of Christ!

          The Advent and Christmas seasons remind us that we love and serve a God who reached out to us and for us in the sending of his only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to bring us salvation. As Christ’s disciples, we are compelled by God’s love during the holiday season to reach out to others in tangible ways, especially the less fortunate.

          As we decorate and prepare our homes for the holidays, and make plans for seasonal celebrations, most of us cannot imagine living through this season without a home, or living through circumstances that have displaced us from our homes and turned our lives upside down. It has been both an honor and a heartbreak for me to serve on the Amherst Disaster Response Group (ADRG), a community volunteer group that formed after the devastating tornado in Elon in April of 2018. The purpose of the ADRG is to assist with the distribution of available resources to the tornado survivors and their families, and to offer support in any way that we can. Members of the team have been assigned two to three families each, and we received training to enable us to serve as volunteer “case workers” for these families. At times it has been difficult to walk this road with some of these. Many are continuing to deal with issues surrounding rebuilding; some are dealing with emotional issues; some continue to deal with serious injuries that they sustained during the storm.

          Over the years, our church has supported various initiatives at Christmas time to reach out to our community through Social Services clients, through contacts in our public schools, or with Johnson’s Senior Center. This year, I invite us to take this opportunity to help the Goff family, one of my client families that continues to struggle. Of all the families affected by the storm, this family received the most serious injuries. They were living in a rented trailer that is now a heap of metal. Due to the fact that they had not received an official lease from the landlord at the time of the tornado, they had been unable to secure renter’s insurance prior to the storm. They lost everything. Since the governmental disaster relief applies to homeowners, they do not qualify for that assistance. The father’s leg was badly injured and he remained in Fairmont Crossing for several months after his initial surgery, unable to work. I learned last week that he has an infection in his leg and that his body is rejecting the metal support that was implanted. The 13-year old daughter was trapped after the storm and has had surgery on her feet. She continues to have problems and may be facing further surgeries in the near future. The older daughter has been able to return to college, and they also have an elementary aged son who was not injured physically.  Our church was able to help them with a monetary gift back in the summer, and they have received some support from collections taken through the community and Elon Elementary School.

          Our December Communion Offering on December 2 has been designated for the Goff family. We will continue to receive monetary gifts for them through Sunday, December 9. These funds will be given directly to them to use for rent, and to help with Christmas gifts. If you prefer, you may purchase a gift card (either from Walmart or a Visa Gift Card that can be used anywhere) and enclose it in a Christmas card from you that we will deliver to the family. Please include the receipt or activation slip that comes with the gift card. If you choose this option rather than the general communion offering, please place your card in the designated basket in the church office by December 9.

          This family has been so very appreciative of everything they have received, but they still have significant unmet needs. During this season of giving, I look forward to sharing God’s great love with them on behalf of our church family.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nancy