Thank you from Kentucky
Written by Brad Jenkins

When a mudslide damaged our sister congregation’s church in Stopover, Kentucky, we mobilized to send assistance with a small work team. We later collected funding to further help Shepard Memorial get back on their feet. Now, our friends in Kentucky have sent us a letter with an update.

Dear Church,

A simple “Thank You seems like such an insignificant way to express our gratitude to all of you. All of the covenant partners here at Shepard Memorial have been so touched by the love and support that we have received from First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg. We have formed friendships that will last a lifetime, and we feel so connected to you.

We would like to again thank Paul, Frank, and Jim for the physical labor that they provided as well as the giving of their time, which is so valuable to all of us. Their willingness to come as well as their advice helped to move our project along.

We also appreciate the monetary gift. We were amazed by such an outpouring of love for others that you displayed. Your generous gift has enabled us to once again be able to use our sanctuary. As with any remodel or repair project we ran into problems that we were not even aware that we had, so it seemed that fixing one thing opened the door for other needs. However, your generous gift has helped us to:

  • Have three of our heating units cleaned and free of the mud,
  • Have new parts installed in the units so that they could once again heat and cool our building,
  • New insulation and dry wall were added to the damaged area of the wall,
  • New carpet has been installed and flooring in the entryway has been laid,
  • Trees have been removed to prevent further damage in the future,
  • Painting and finish work have also been done,
  • We are currently waiting for the arrival of new furniture for our sanctuary. This will be the first time in the history of the church that we have had new furniture. That is so exciting for all of us!

This church was made from wood from a piano at First Pres that was going to be disposed. The wooden church now sits at Shepard Memorial in Kentucky.

We love the surprise Christmas gift that we received in the mail from [a couple in your church]. The church that he built using materials from a piano that at one time was used in your church is lovely. We gave it a prominent place in our entryway. Every Sunday as we enter the sanctuary we are reminded of our friends in Harrisonburg and of God’s goodness.

As we begin another year we hope to use some of the money to further the mission of our church. We started a “Community Dinner” last year to provide food to those in need, but we had to stop those when the mudslide damaged the building. We are also thinking about doing some renovations to our upstairs to be able to host mission groups. We are in a great mission field.

When the mudslide came in September our sanctuary was a mess, but we did not miss worshiping together. We converted one end of our fellowship hall into a mini chapel for our Sunday worship. The other end continued to be used for our monthly pot luck dinners and our weekly Bible study. Even though the events of the mudslide have been hard on us, we definitely feel that God is not finished with Shepard Memorial. During these past few months, our Bible study group has grown from six or seven to twelve to thirteen. We have received two new covenant partners, and the relationship with our sister church across the mountain is on the mend. We actually had a joint cantata for Christmas.

We give God praise for giving us partners to walk alongside us in such a time as this. Thank you again for everything you have done for us.

With great appreciation and love in Christ,

Debbie Coleman
Commissioned Lay Pastor, Shepard Memorial Presbyterian Church