Sometimes faith is a still, small voice inside, holding us secure in difficult times.
Sometimes it is what drives us to take a stand, make a difference.
The folks at Pine Bluff United Methodist Church have put their faith in action serving our community.
In fall 2008, Pastor Kevin "Bird" McCormac got a phone call. The church was celebrating Homecoming and enjoying a potluck meal.
If you've ever been to a church potluck around here, you know how delicious and abundant church ladies' food can be. So it must have seemed a little like divine timing when the woman caller asked Pastor Bird, "Are you a church that feeds people if they're hungry?"
Pastor Bird told her he was looking at a huge spread of delicious food, and the church would be happy to share it. So two members, Gene Smith and Larry Hartsell, delivered a plate of food, and Pine Bluff became a church that feeds people.
Last summer, this church of 65 members took up a "peanut-butter-and-jelly ministry." With the help of counselors at Bethel Elementary, they adopted two families with children who qualify for free lunches during the school year, but often go without in summer. Pine Bluff provided food for them for 13 weeks last summer.
The idea continued to grow. Lindsey Hartsell and Tish Linker participated in a training session at the Cooperative Christian Ministry in Concord. They were impressed by the people they met and by the need in our county.
Last spring, the church began to talk with CCM about becoming a satellite food pantry; the dream will become reality when the Pine Bluff pantry opens Jan. 10.
The pantry still needs a name, and suggestions are welcome, Lindsey Hartsell said. Church volunteers will maintain and staff the pantry, which will be open 9 a.m.-noon the second Saturday of every month.
To donate food, money or time, call the church at 704-888-3090 and leave a message.
The pantry needs help from churches and individuals to get the word out about this new ministry.
If the need is urgent and can't wait until a second Saturday, they said, call. If transportation is an issue, call. You will get a quick response and a helping hand.
The church is on Reed Mine Road between Reed Gold Mine and N.C. 24/27. Pastor Bird said the congregation wants to be a "Matthew 25 church," citing the gospel mandate to serve "the least of these" in Jesus' name.
When I met with Pastor Bird, Larry Hartsell, Gene Smith and Lindsey Hartsell, I saw the kind of faith that is ready to feed the hungry. I saw the kind of faith that moves mountains and changes the world.