Last month I had the pleasure, as I so often do, to visit a church that some might think to be in the middle of “nowhere”. One of the blessings of Western Pennsylvania is that you do not have to travel far to be in the middle of “nowhere”.
I arrived at the white-framed church, like many across the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, at 6 o’clock in the evening, and met with the Finance Committee for an update on church “business” and to learn how the United Methodist Foundation might be able to assist them. They shared that times are difficult and they are only earning a half of a percent on their investments.
I told them about the Foundation’s Funds Management Ministry and explained that the Foundation could distribute $7000 a year more than they are currently receiving. As you can imagine, $7000 more for ministry and mission would be significant for this congregation and many other congregations for that matter. This was welcome news.
This visit, as with so many others, reminded me why the Foundation so often travels to places that some would consider to be in the middle of “nowhere”. Because we know that these churches are more than just a dot on a map. The life of a congregation is far from the middle of nowhere; it is the middle of everywhere.
As most folks know, the middle of “nowhere” is more than a simple space that defines what or who you are. A simple space can give perspective. A simple space can change “nowhere” to “now here”. And when you live and worship in the middle of “nowhere,” you are definitely now here at a great destination.
**Bailey is the executive director of the United Methodist Foundation of Western Pennsylvania.