By Rev. Tamlyn Collins
Members of Douglasville First UMC have long been investing in our WellStar Douglas Hospital, which is located across the street from our church. The church made sure snack bags were delivered to families waiting for their loved ones to come out of surgery that said, “God loves you and so do we.” We made sporadic visits to people needing prayer. In short, we were caring for the patients in small ways, but were we serving those who served?
Now, there are people with COVID-19 across the street from our church, and we suddenly recognized the people working across the street were not just going to a job — they were risking their lives for others. We had an opportunity to show them that God was with them in the middle of a pandemic and to bless those who were blessing others.
Our prayer group asked God for healing and for guidance in the ways we could be Christ’s hands. The answers came quickly. Our church could offer the gift of encouragement by placing a sign across the street from the hospital saying, “Health Care Providers Are Heroes! Thank you. #lovedouglasville.”
We know Jesus told us to feed the hungry, so we delivered Hudson’s Hickory House BBQ to 160 workers on the night shift. Hudson’s blessed us with a discount. The day shift also needed a little love, so we delivered a cart full of snacks to them.
A different kind of Holy Week arrived causing us to reflect on the ways that Jesus sacrificed for us. A “God thing” happened when a Sunday School class offered hundreds of chocolate-stuffed Easter eggs to the hospital. I masked up to deliver the baskets of eggs with signs saying, “The cross is empty, but the eggs are full.” To my surprise, I was greeted at the door by the National Guard who took the baskets and stepped back through the sliding glass doors. These are different times, for sure, but Jesus told us it would be so in Luke 21:11 when he says that there will be great earthquakes and in various places famines and plagues. Jesus then tells us to be alert and to be praying, and so we will.
The mission continues as God uses our healthcare workers to bring healing. It is our blessing at Douglasville First United Methodist Church to be a small part of the hope that is delivered through the message of Christ to those who serve and those who are being served. We pray that God will bless each of those on the front line with the strength they need to see the victory that Christ promised — and that we are able to encourage them onward as they continue to walk in love and self-sacrifice.
Rev. Tamlyn Collins is Associate Pastor of Douglasville First United Methodist Church.
Editor's Note: We asked Rev. Collins to write about serving the hospital across the street, but we would be remiss not to mention that Douglasville First UMC has also delivered pizza to workers at their local Kroger, delivered hundreds of bags of food to their local elementary school, and the church staff gave blood through the Red Cross during Holy Week, just to name a few ways this church is serving its community! Well done, Douglasville First!