Rev. Dr. Kyle Walker serves as Interim Pastor for Emmanuel Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Bedford, Texas.
I have witnessed a modern-day miracle. It grants life to the recipients and the givers, well beyond the appearance of things at first.
In August of this year, the text in the lectionary cycle was the feeding of the 5,000 in the sixth chapter of John. Feeling the scarcity moment within ourselves, Emmanuel Presbyterian went looking to take a step toward abundance. What could we possibly offer with our mere five barley loaves and two fish? Or in this case, $2,000?
The church had a COVID-19 fund that had been designated to help those affected by COVID-19 but had honestly been so disconnected from our pandemic-shuttered community agencies, and dealing with many leadership transitions at the same time, that we had not spent but a penny of it for its purpose.
Where were the 5,000? Or, where was the need so great that we had discounted we could do a thing about it with our small portion?
The overwhelming need was vaccination. One of the most under-vaccinated precincts at the time was the Greenway neighborhood of Fort Worth. Emmanuel Presbyterian already has an existing relationship with this neighborhood though The 6:8 Project, established in 2013 by EPC and the Rev. Dana Jones to serve neighborhoods and empower communities to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly;” (Micah 6:8).
What if we used this money to vaccinate people? What if we paid them to get the vaccine? Perhaps making up a portion of lost hourly wages, as people took the time to get vaccinated?
The idea was pitched by John Field and Ken Richardson of EPC who offer consistent leadership between EPC, The 6:8 Project, and the Greenway neighborhood. All we wanted to do was help get a vaccine supply and pay people $10 to get it. Our session agreed to the reallocation, and Greenway Church agreed to head it up. EPC would assist with volunteers.
As the first vaccine clinic was about to happen (August 18, 2021) EPC members donated to increase the amount invested in the project – see John 6! We advertised through flyers, word of mouth, Greenway Church, media, and signage in the neighborhood. We partnered with Best Value Ridglea Pharmacy that donated the vaccinate and staff to administer the shots. 30 people came for their vaccine that day, which was truly the number we could handle in those two hours.
A portion of them returned on September 8 for their second shot, and we had more come for their first. We did it again on September 29 and October 20. I must confess nothing has been as cathartic for the despair of pandemic as working on this project!
I promise this is not intended to be a braggadocious moment. It is not about Kyle Walker. These relationships existed long before I even knew about them or about EPC. I am a minor player in what I would suggest is the bold movement of the Holy Spirit among people who are listening as the Lord calls. I am a witness to the work of God, and it is miraculous to behold!
The formula is instructive though, and I hope to continue to get the word out about this. You can help.
Where are your long standing relationships as a community of faith? How can you leverage what you have to meet a dramatic need for the Kindom in that place? Don’t be scared off by the depth of need. Just lean into the possibility of miracles. They are around us when we look for them.
The last two clinics of the year will take place Wednesday, November 10 and Wednesday, December 1. Hours are 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The clinic distributes Pfizer vaccines and serves all eligible COVID-19 patients, including those needing initial vaccines and boosters. Eligible children are are served as well.
Greenway Church is located at 1816 Delga Street in Fort Worth.