The COVID-19 pandemic and a church congregation that has grown older is putting a significant strain on St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. In an effort to renew the minds and spirits of the congregation as well as the Milford community, the church is planning a “Revival for Survival” on Saturday, October 16, starting at 3 PM on the church grounds.
“We have been trying to be creative and find ways we can draw people back into the church,” Katrina Wilson, chairperson of the event, said. “It came to me that we needed an old-fashioned revival. I spoke to our pastor and she said to go with it, so a committee was formed and here we are.”
The event will include a tent on the grounds with gospel singers as well as recorded gospel music. There will be free food and speakers who will talk about the world in disarray and the challenges facing people today with a positive message from Romans 12:2 which states that rather than conform to this world, people should “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Prayers will be offered for healing and restoration. Wilson pointed out that this revival was also open to Milford’s walking community.
“Every year we have our Homecoming,” Wilson said. “Things have changed with no large gatherings inside. Each year, we would go out and create memorial booklets to raise money. We sold advertising to businesses as well as to family members of those who had passed on who wanted to remember them. This is replacing that this year. The event is free and open to the public. We want everyone to come – Christians, people who have sown seeds to help our church to survive, past members, businesses, community leaders, everyone.”
The event is planned as a fund raiser for the church as well. Wilson pointed out that all churches are struggling today due to the ongoing pandemic.
“We have not been inside our church since the pandemic began,” Wilson said. “When we have inclement weather, we hold virtual services. When the weather is nice, we hold them outside in a tent. The reason for that is that, financially, we cannot afford to do the cleaning required under CDC guidelines, so we are trying to do as much as we can. At a normal church service, people are able to tithe by putting funds in the collection plate. That is a little more difficult with a virtual service and, although some are still sending in funds, not everyone is able to do that. It has become difficult for all the churches in the area.”
Wilson also pointed out that the congregation in her church is aging as younger people are moving to larger, modern churches where there are more younger attendees. She is hoping the revival will renew interest in the church she grew up in.
“This is the only church I know,” Wilsons said. “I am 59 years old, and this has been the foundation of my life, my family’s life. There is a strong sense of bonding here and I want to do whatever I can to keep this church moving forward and around for my grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond.”
Wilson stated that they are looking for donations as well as volunteers to help with the event. Volunteers may assist with parking or with handing out food. Anyone interested can contact her at 302-241-8745.
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