Shady Grove Wesleyan Church (SGWC) is a suburban church located in Colfax between three major cities: High Point, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. A church with a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation of approximately 650, it has continued to see financial giving stay consistent, even in the last few months of having church online.
“Recognizing we have an obligation to help others, we have prayerfully sought to see where needs might be beyond our church walls,” said Rev. Kevin McDonald.
Three successful food drives have supplied SGWC’s food pantry, a community service provided for the past several years. When the food pantry began, around 20 families regularly received groceries though a backpack ministry to students at a local elementary school.
But this spring, when COVID-19 hit, approximately 80 families were served a week’s worth of groceries. Food pantry volunteers prepared nonperishable items for local families. Each family also received gift cards to buy perishable items that the church could not supply.
The SGWC congregation gave so much that there was excess available. Their generosity allowed for expanded ministry.
“Pastor Kevin [McDonald] called the district office to ask what we could do with excess food,” said Pastor Denise Sacks, who oversees SGWC mission opportunities. “We were looking for people in our district whom we can partner with and encourage.”
SGWC received the names of three Wesleyan churches:
- First Haitian Wesleyan Church in High Point (predominantly Haitian congregation)
- Luz de las Naciones (Light to the Nations) Church in Hendersonville (predominantly Hispanic congregation)
- Core International Church in Charlotte (predominantly African-American congregation)
Seventeen families at First Haitian Wesleyan received a week’s worth of groceries. Almost all the families in this small church are out of work and without resources. A $25 gift card was given for the purchase of perishable items along with the groceries, and the church was given $1,000 to encourage and bless their ministry.
At Luz de las Naciones, $50 gift cards were given to 35 families. Luz de las Naciones is a church plant that developed from SGWC mission work several years ago in Costa Rica. The church is growing but has struggled during the pandemic as many of the congregants are without employment or resources. A $1,000 check was given to the church to help with ongoing ministry needs.
Core International Church didn’t need groceries, so SGWC gave the church $1,000 to distribute to congregants as needed.
Sacks noted that an anonymous donor pledged $1,500 if SGWC could match it. The match funded the $3,000 given to the churches mentioned above.
Some urgent needs of families affiliated with Colfax Elementary School were also addressed. SGWC provided 25 families with groceries and a $35 gift card to help in areas where food insecurity is worse than ever.
Numerous anonymous gifts have been donated to encourage and provide some relief for people and families needing hope in a time of uncertainty. One instance includes a SGWC staff member telling about a neighbor who was out of work because of the pandemic. That neighbor received groceries and a gift card, and Sacks was able to share the gospel upon delivery of the items.
Helping provide basic needs to others has been a joy for Sacks and the SGWC congregation.
“That little bit of encouragement said, ‘hang in there, we are with you,’ to many in need. It’s not the amount. It’s just that someone else was showing me a bit of love and encouragement.”
All three district churches expressed gratitude.
“We plan to come alongside and partner with these churches as the pandemic continues to affect others,” said Sacks. “We cannot minister in these areas without these churches’ help. They’re doing some cool things in their communities, and we are excited to join our sister churches in ministry. One thing is certain and that is God is still Sovereign. He is still working, providing and blessing. I can never say enough to thank you, Shady Grove Church, for your faithfulness.”