Newnan Springs takes advantage of Extreme opportunity
SPECIAL TO THE ADVOCATE
What do you do when God sends an unexpected blessing your way? At Newnan Springs UMC, in Rossville, there was no hesitation.
Several weeks ago Newnan Springs was approached by location managers for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” A local family, the Sharrocks, had been selected for a home makeover, and Newnan Springs UMC was invited to play a big part.
The church property became a staging area for the cast, crew and artists to operate. There were inconveniences for Newnan Springs due to tight security presence for the week of the construction. And people… lots and lots of people.
Newnan Springs provided the majority of its parking spaces, the use of its pavilion area, utility tie-in, restrooms, extensive use of the church property, and a quiet place for the Sharrocks to stay in the hour before their new house was unveiled.
Members coming to church that week were stopped by security and asked to state their business. Committee meetings were cancelled. The church grounds, including the parsonage, were lit up like midday at midnight, and the sounds of construction never stopped. A last-minute press conference at 9 a.m. one Sunday filled the church’s parking spaces with press vehicles, and the parsonage lot quickly became the overflow area where worshippers could park. All in all, it was a massive inconvenience.
It was also a miracle.
Nine-year-old Patrick Sharrock suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease. He is home schooled by his parents, who each hold full time jobs on alternating shifts. Their house was built in the ‘50s and was unsafe for a person with Patrick’s condition. Patrick’s mother is partly deaf; she worried that she wouldn’t hear Patrick if he was in trouble.
Although the Sharrocks had attended past Vacation Bible Carnivals at Newnan Springs, no one in the church, and few in the community, knew the extremity of their situation.
Over the week various people from Newnan Springs met many of the cast and crew of the show. More importantly, the local neighborhood came together in an unprecedented way. The entire greater Chattanooga area was a part of this event, providing materials, volunteers, and skilled labor. Out of 189 builds this one was the most problematic because of the limited lot size and space in the neighborhood; it was also the one with the most community support the crew had ever seen. The Sharrocks now live in a 3,000-square-foot home that has been built from the ground up with Patrick’s safety in mind.
Sometimes, even people in the church get discouraged easily, especially during tough economic times. This event has powerfully demonstrated that when willing people come together with sufficient dedication and for a good cause, amazing things can and will happen.
And may we not forget that even though not all the members of our community are members of our church, every church is a member of its community and has a God-given responsibility to it.