A trinity of churches find connection their greatest ally

By Gary Carter*

Members of the Waples Memorial, Trinity, and Price Memorial United Methodist Churches of Denison gather together for an ice cream social to kick off their cooperative ministry.

Members of the Waples Memorial, Trinity, and Price Memorial United Methodist Churches of Denison gather together for an ice cream social to kick off their cooperative ministry.

Denison, TX — In a time of lethargy among church goers, when numbers in sanctuaries across America are dwindling every Sunday, new ideas are needed to serve the devoted members of our United Methodist churches.

Even small towns like Denison, Texas, with its tight-knit families, iron-clad morals and principles, and long-time traditions, recent polls and data show that the largest growing denomination in town is … well, none. More people are choosing not to go to church.

But the mission remains the same. And for the United Methodist flock of Denison, the reduced numbers of church-goers on Sundays, while presenting a challenge, have offered potential for a greater purpose.

And that purpose is connectivity. For Waples Memorial, Trinity, and Price Memorial United Methodist Churches of Denison, there sprang forward a chance to form a sort of trinity of churches.

“We want to help our churches grow. And we’re going to do it together,” said Pastor Roy Spore, of Waples UMC. “It’s a rather inventive idea to create a unity of the three churches. We are grateful for those of you who have come to share in this time.”

Spore was speaking to a gathering of about a hundred of members from the three churches on a cloudless, cool evening in a Denison park. The members gathered for the first of its kind … an ice cream social which was to serve as a kick-off, get-to-know-each-other event that will be among many as the trinity of churches go forward connected.

As summer of 2013 began, a rather inventive program brought the three churches together, sharing one associate pastor among them. Pastor Jimmy Greene was brought on board to share his pastoral duties among the three churches, leading services at Trinity and Price Memorial, and serving part-time pastor duties at Waples. His infectious smile and spirit immediately warmed the hearts of the three churches.

Next, the mission was to pool more resources. All the while, the trinity of churches would continue to stem the decline in numbers. The polls show that people are just stingier with their time and money than they have been in decades past. It’s a new era in the church.

Coming together, that connectivity, was the main thrust behind adding Greene to the mix and bringing the three Methodist churches together as they go forward in service.

“We have prayed for these opportunities to come together as United Methodists, and most importantly, together as the Lord’s people,” Greene said, as he waved a hand over the crowd at the ice cream social. “It is our prayer that our gathering is one of joy and of blessing.”

It was evident by the introductions, the laughter, the stories, and the fellowship, that it was indeed a joy and a blessing.

Sam Patty plays for the members of the Waples Memorial, Trinity, and Price Memorial United Methodist Churches of Denison, TX.

Sam Patty plays for the members of the Waples Memorial, Trinity, and Price Memorial United Methodist Churches of Denison, TX.

The ice cream social may have been just an event in the park. But beyond that, it opened doors for new friends, new relationships. And while dozens and dozens of cookies, ice creams, brownies and other assorted goodies were shared, there was fellowship among old friends and new.

While the churches’ music team played guitars, piano and brought toes to tapping, the children of the three churches joined in with a rousing rendition of “Jesus Loves Me.”

And as the sun slowly set across the park, the sounds of laughter could be heard from the playground as the youth of the three churches said their hellos and made quick friends before protesting that it was too soon to leave. Connections were made all around.

 

Gary Carter is the chairman of the Waples UMC Communications Committee, and formerly an editor for several North Texas newspapers, magazines and television stations.

Special Contributor to UMR

Special Contributor

This story was written by a special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter. You may send your article submissions to
editor@circuitwritermedia.com
.

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