How our Partnership with Lillian Began
Lillian United Methodist Church (UMC) has been a dear partner in our network of United Methodist supporters since 2013, when their main pastor, Pastor Daniel Randall introduced the Lillian United Methodist Men’s and Women’s groups to the Celebrate Recovery ministry at Bright Bridge Ministries. Richard Erwin, leader of the Lillian United Methodist Men’s group says, “Both groups responded by a willingness to provide a meal per month to roughly 200 individuals. The volunteer response was overwhelming as we had over 20 individuals volunteer to be part of this program and do “other things” asked of us.” Drawn to the outreach opportunities at Bright Bridge Ministries, these groups have helped us many times over the years, and continue to lend support when it is most needed.
Lillian's Faithful Support of Bright Bridge Ministries
Richard Erwin says about 30 individuals overall have supported Bright Bridge since Lillian UMC first became involved with our ministries. He says both Lillian United Methodist Men and Women have fundraisers to raise funds for Bright Bridge, and other ministries: The Lillian United Methodist Women have a semi-annual Trash-N-Treasure Sale and the Lillian United Methodist Men have an annual BBQ/Car Show. In this way, Lillian UMC has provided financial support to Bright Bridge Ministries, better equipping us to serve the most needy individuals, children, and families in our community.
In addition to financial support, Lillian UMC has also provided in-kind support to our food ministries, and thus help our ministries through some trying times. When unforeseen circumstances prevented our Food Ministry at Bright Bridge from being able to prepare meals in the kitchen at our facilities, we reached out to other churches to ask if they could help our food ministry out by providing a meal weekly, and Lillian UMC came through for our food ministries at this time. Having previously only provided a meal per month, serving a couple hundred, Lillian UMC began really stepping up their support, with three different teams of women and men now working to provide a meal per week, serving around 1,500 meals per month. Lillian UMC also responded to our request to provide a meal daily for our food ministries at Bright Bridge when Hurricane Sally hit; Lillian UMC proved to be invaluable to us at that time. as many of our other go-to Food Ministry helpers had been too badly impacted by the hurricane to be able to help us. With the help of Lillian UMC, we served 389 meals to hungry people in our community on the Friday after Hurricane Sally, more than we have served on any single day besides Thanksgiving! Here at Bright Bridge Ministries, we want to extend our gratitude to Lillian UMC, knowing we would not have been able to continue serving our community through these trying times without the dedicated support of the Lillian United Methodist Men and and Women who have continued to assist our Food Ministry.
Homeless Outreach as a Shared Goal for Lillian and Bright Bridge
Comprised of both retired and working individuals, the Lillian United Methodist Men’s and Women’s groups devote much of their time to serving Bright Bridge Ministries, and other ministries as well. Richard Erwin says of his role in mobilizing these groups to serve, “My function is to make the need aware and stand back and watch how The Lord makes it happen—this is a very humbling experience.” When asked why Lillian UMC has chosen Bright Bridge Ministries as one of their ministries to support, Richard Erwin responded, “Our Church Mission is to ‘Reach Out With God’s Love’ and this is but one opportunity to do that.” We consider ourselves blessed to have such an incredible partner in our United Methodist network of supporters, whose mission aligns with our outreach efforts to homeless and under-resourced individuals in our community.
Feeding our Community with Love
Of Bright Bridge’s role in our local community, Richard Erwin says, “Each meal is handed out with love; Bright Bridge Ministries reaches the community of Brownsville. We hope and pray that we are making a positive contribution to the community and have grown very close to many individuals served by BBM [Bright Bridge Ministries]. Indeed, as an ex-administrator at Brownsville Middle School, I have had individuals that were once in the school, and who I know come to me and say the one thing that says it all—’Thank you and may God continue to bless you.’”
We Appreciate Lillian and Others who Choose to Support Bright Bridge
We are grateful for Lillian UMC, that they have been such a faithful supporter, and that they understand so well the value that Bright Bridge Ministries brings to our local community. We hope this relationship we have with Lillian UMC will inspire new relationships within our United Methodist network, so that we may work together to serve those in need in as many ways, and through as many times as we possibly can.