He says you will know them by their fruit and Trinity United Methodist Church in Rome, Georgia is determined to show their ties with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords in the here and now, giving away a week’s worth of bagged food for free to the nearly 5,000 people that gathered on Sunday.
The event, slated to start at noon at Rome’s Ridge Ferry Park, saw people line up as early as 5:45 a.m. in anticipation of the bags of food to be given away that day, eventually nearing 100,000 pounds distributed overall, with more than half of that gone by 2:30 p.m. and over 1,600 families served, according to the Christian Post.
In addition, free concerts, games, hot dogs and cotton candy were offered to anyone who attended the event because, in the words of Trinity’s Pastor David Campbell, “We want anyone who wants to come to feel welcome.”
“The idea is that, in the kingdom of God, it doesn’t matter if we have money or not,” Grant Magness, Trinity’s Youth Director and the event organizer added.
But money, although the root of all evil, is still required to meet the financial cost of the Jesus in the Park event. And for the two prior years it was the government, through a stimulus grant received by the Atlanta Community Food Bank, that provided the 100,000 pounds of food for the event.
But that changed this year, when stimulus funds no longer supported the effort and the Atlanta Community Food Bank had to deliver the news that they couldn’t contribute to the cause this time.
Trinity United Methodist Church’s congregation reached deep into their own pockets, contributing 60 percent of the $20,000 estimated cost for Sunday’s benevolence to the community. Other members of the community, along with area businesses, ponied up the other 40 percent, proving that it isn’t necessary to rely on the government to do what God’s people can do.
Grant Magness said that it was Trinity United Methodist Church’s youth group that really stepped into Jesus’ feet when it came to “feeding the 5,000” because they staffed the event and did most of the pre-event planning and fund-raising.
Georgia churches, be they Methodist, Baptist or another denomination, have a record of stepping in and helping their neighbors and communities. This was especially evident during the tornado devastation that took place earlier this year, with some churches aiding in rebuilding homes and helping the homeless with a place to live and something to eat and the hope that tomorrow truly would be a better day.
Trinity United Methodist Church and their youth are continuing the southern tradition of hospitality, but they are doing it on the Jesus scale.