Every Fall, our Outreach team hosts an Alpha course. This is where I first met her-a tiny, friendly lady who introduced herself as Ethel, and asked if I minded if she joined our small group. We welcomed her in, grabbed a plate, and helped her navigate the food table with her walker. She sat down with a big smile, introduced herself to everyone, and began chatting with strangers like she had known them all her life.
I got to know Ethel better over the next couple years, and her commitment to serving Jesus and others was an inspiration to me and everyone around her. Whether it be church services, events, Bible study groups, or potlucks-if the weather was agreeable, Ethel was there. She was often a source of encouragement and wisdom, always willing to share what she had learned over many years of faithfully serving the Lord.
She was a fixture in our neighborhood, walking the 5 blocks or so from her house to the church with her walker-stopping along the way to encourage, pray with, or invite to church anyone she came across. She would often come to our monthly food truck, filling up her bag with any extras that she could give away on her walk home; always pointing them toward Jesus and the church when they asked questions. We offered her a ride many times, but she always expressed to me how important it was to keep moving, keep useful, keep ministering no matter what your age or limitations
Ethel recently passed away just after her 90th birthday, and her funeral was held at our church. There were at least 200 people there, standing room only in our small sanctuary. As I looked out over the sea of faces, each with their own stories of Ethel, I saw how every one of them was a potential seed planted for God’s glory, and I realized how impactful just ONE life lived in obedience to Jesus could be..and that is a lesson in Outreach that I’ll never forget!!
Community CRC Outreach Coordinator