Raising money for Puerto Rico | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Apr 20, 2018

Edmonds United Methodist Church became my church home when I returned to Edmonds over a dozen years ago, after forty-some years away.

When I was a child, my family attended the old Hughes Memorial Methodist Church on the corner of Fifth and Dayton, a striking old building sometimes referred to as “that church that looks like a mission.”

It was one block east of our home at Fourth and Dayton.

The congregation eventually moved to Caspers Street; the church name changed to Edmonds United Methodist Church. I became a Lutheran as an adult, but when I returned to Edmonds, attending the Methodist church seemed like a natural choice.

Every service I attend brings recollections of attending there with my mother, and my brother is a member.

At the church, I’ve experienced the caring ministries of several superb pastors. Currently, the Rev. Sandy Brown leads the congregation, lovingly sharing his faith and prompting his congregation into ever-deeper compassion and community with all who enter.

Concerns around social justice, reconciliation, environment, hunger, poverty, diversity and gun responsibility lead to study, conversation and action. Bible study and numerous other learning and discussion sessions fill the calendar.

Many EUMC members volunteer at the Edmonds Food Bank and serve as tutors in an ongoing program at the church. Clearly, I’m attending a church that encourages involvement.

My readers include people of a variety of faiths – churchgoing may or may not be a part of their lives. I don’t often write about church, but sometimes I experience something on a Sunday morning that warms my heart in ways I can imagine anyone else would appreciate, too.

Last Sunday, Jennifer McLaughlin, beloved director of Family Ministries, invited children forward for her usual Sunday morning visit with them. But “Miss Jen” also found a moment in the service to invite a boy named Tobin to come forward while she told about a concern he had voiced to her.

I think she said Tobin is 9 years old, but whatever his age, his heart is wise and warm.

Tobin was concerned about the people of Puerto Rico and the disastrous hurricanes that have left them still struggling, still receiving inadequate assistance to recover. Tobin said he thought the people of Puerto Rico needed help.

Miss Jen and Sunday School children and teachers agreed. That’s how Tobin’s concern led the children and their families during Lent to fill plastic Easter eggs with offerings to help Puerto Ricans. They raised $1,644.98.

And then came anonymous donations of $700 – and then more offerings from members and friends of the church. The total? $4,110 for Puerto Ricans.

I love stories about one child making a difference. Certainly, there are plenty of stories about young people making terrible choices, but there are more great stories about kids with caring hearts.

Tobin brought a lesson of deep compassion to his church family, and he brought a fresh reminder that always, always, always, kindness overcomes meanness, faith acts to answer need and unselfishness brings about change. So, Tobin, thank you for living your faith.

I think you are one of the reasons I go to church on Sunday mornings.


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