Spring Valley UMC at work

This morning I attended Network of Community Ministries’ annual Convocation of Stakeholders. This was an organization I knew nothing about before last week, when I ran into Tom Purcell outside of my office. Tom’s passion for Network is obvious, so when he invited me to attend the meeting and take a tour of the new facility I was happy to go. I had no idea what was in store! Also attending the meeting was the Rev Cathey Sweeney, a colleague of mine in the North Texas Conference and one of the associate pastors at Arapaho UMC, and dozens of other community leaders. I met the CEO, Abbie Kauffman, who started there last September. I met several Board members. I learned that Spring Valley UMC is an official stakeholder. There was so much amazing information offered- I wish there had been a handout so that I could articulate to you the range of services Network makes possible. Even if you know, you don’t know. Like the demand for many services doubled over the last year.

On the tour, I saw meeting rooms where neighbors learn life skills or receive job training. We walked through the food market, which is designed to look like a store, so that guests can actually shop and choose which foods best meets their family’s tastes or dietary requirements. The clothing store is tremendous. The site is even an emergency center for the City of Richardson should a catastrophic event happen. It was all overwhelming, but in the best way. It’s great to see people in the community- 14 zip codes of Richardson ISD, the fifth most inclusive school district in Texas- hearing and meeting so many diverse needs. And doing so that neighbors- obviously that word is intentional- are helped in a way that empowers them and ensures their dignity. 

I know Spring Valley has many people who volunteer at Network in a variety of ways, so I let me say thank you for living out your faith there. If you would like to get plugged in, start here: https://thenetwork.org/volunteer/

The night before, I attended my first Missions Committee meeting at the church. Again… I had no idea! Spring Valley supports, serves, helps so many groups and ministries locally and beyond, in addition to the denominational support we give through our United Methodist connection. I loved hearing from everyone around the table and over Zoom where and how people are serving. I tried to take notes, but I know I missed some. Just check out the breadth of ministries we support: Network, Salud y Paz, Sisters of Sierra Leone, North Texas Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, several elementary schools, Restoration Team (not just funding; the youth mission trip has traveled to Houston the last two years, and they plan to return next year). The group decided to send financial support to: Network ($1000), Close to Home, the North Texas Conference partnership with UMCOR to assist Jack County following the tornado a couple of years ago ($1000); North Texas Food Bank ($500). I am very grateful for David Smith’s leadership of this team, and for everyone who serves there.

Borrowing from the sermon text for this Sunday, “Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ; Let’s work together for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity…” (Galatians 6:2, 10). There is a vital connection between what we believe and what we do. I am proud to be part of a congregation with a long history of commitment to meet the needs of those we are called to serve and love in our neighborhood, city, and world.