The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. In 2016 Greene Memorial participated for the second year in the Festival of Trees at the Hotel Roanoke as an evangelistic endeavor. The Festival of Trees is an annual fundraiser for various non-profits in the Roanoke Valley. This year all the money was donated to The United Way. People voted for their favorite tree by making a monetary donation.
It all started when our Pastor Gary Heaton shared a possible thematic idea for our Advent celebration. “Gifts Given, Gifts Received”.
The design group, four amateurs–Linda Bailey, Mitzi Willingham, JoAnn Kevorkian, and Nancy Hughes– took the idea and developed the tree that multiple thousands of people viewed during the holiday season. The tree turned into a simple reminder of the true meaning of the season which is the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. The feature was the Magi who presented the gifts to the Christ child. Each present under the tree had a simple gift tag which represented a gift from Jesus Christ. Joy, Love, Compassion, Hope, Integrity, Gratitude among others. We also included a take home coloring sheet, with crayons, of the Magi as a reminder of the event which included the church QR code and contact information. Before it was all over 750 coloring sheets were picked up and continued to minister to families throughout the season!
Professional judging was held and the winners were announced on January 11, 2017. 1st Place, People’s Choice Award was presented to Greene Memorial United Methodist Church.
In this troubled world we live in, look outside the four walls of your church and you’ll see different avenues to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.