Jul 2, 2010

Book People 3

The past two weeks in the e-mail blast and also in the pastor’s blog for FUMC, Arlington, we shared a story about the “Book People” (Adult Library Committee). As a “Go the Second Mile” mission project they called their venture: The Book Carnival.

When the “Book People” arrived at the Center Street Activities Building early—early on 29 May 2010, several stacks of books greeted them. Those books brought the count up to 2234 at the moment of opening of the Book Carnival—an impressive number considering that only a few weeks before the group had only slender hope for this kind of response—What a wonderful congregation!!!!!!!

This is part of the description of the event itself . . . Books are stacked on tables for children’s selection. Colorful signs cover the walls of the room. Smiling docents are ready to greet children and families. Balloons and signs announce the Book Carnival. The Boys and Girls Clubs, the Arlington Library, and FUMC’s Summer Camp have brochures and greeters ready with information. A special table with books written in Spanish is part of the fiesta atmosphere. Supper kits are stacked on shelves ready for visiting families. Snack bags and beverages await children. A question hangs in the air: Will anyone come?

“A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes.” This quotation by Mark Twain describes the feelings of the volunteers as families walked into the room. They kept coming. Each child was given a colorful fabric bag with games, crayons, and coloring books. Each child found four or five books and placed these in the bag along with snacks and beverages. Families asked questions about summer events and the library. We borrowed from FUMC’s Food Pantry to provide enough Supper Kits. Volunteers were stunned . . . and grateful. Children and families arrived just before 10:00 a.m. and until 2:00 p.m. when The Book Carnival closed with only a few books remaining. These remainder books The Book Carnival sent to the Arlington Night Shelter, the Salvation Army, and the Women’s Shelter.

Children and families were so gracious—thanking volunteers for the books and gifts. We were grateful for their courteous presence. During one moment when the room was exceptionally crowded, one little girl about three or four years old sat on the floor amidst all of the feet and legs, opened her book, and then began to read. Wonderful! Several children stopped just outside and sat on the steps, examined the contents of their bags, opened their books, and enjoyed snacks.

After The Book Carnival, the “Book People” (Adult Library Committee) sent thank you notes to all of the stakeholders. Their contributions in money, books, tasks, and time made this event a genuinely Arlington FUMC “Go the Second Mile” mission.

As for the leftover books, the “Book People” delivered four or five book boxes each to the Night Shelter, the Salvation Army, and the Women’s Shelter. These ministries, of course, were thrilled. As a result, even more children received gift books. Summertime reading is a now reality for many children in our immediate neighborhood and we as a church are connected in new ways to our closest neighbors.

What is most gratifying is that the “Book People” have received calls regarding additional contributions. The “Book People” now face decisions regarding future events and for storage—Blessings all around. I think the “Book People” are up to the task and great thanks go to them—that is the “Book People.”

Paul suggested what in all things that we be thankful. Thankfulness does not describe this blessed experience. We as a church had a wonderful opportunity to provide fellowship and books for gentle neighbors. We are thankful. May God continue to bless the work.

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