By Chris Schutz
Oklahoma City’s Britton Elementary School boasts new soccer fields and equipment thanks to the combined mission efforts of three United Methodist churches.
Leland Clegg, Epworth, and Summit churches concluded "we could do more missionally together than we could apart," said Marla Lobo, pastor of Leland Clegg.
Church representatives met with the school staff about their needs. "We sat down and listened to them," Rev. Lobo said.
Allen Buck, pastor of Summit UMC, said the churches sought ways to have an impact in a poor area of Oklahoma City. "The needs there are just so great," he said.
The churches raised $7,800 through special offerings to help the school.
After the meetings, the churches decided that soccer equipment could be enjoyed by the largest number of students.
"Soccer is something that you can play regardless of how old you are," Lobo said.
Two fields, one sized for older children and a smaller one appropriate for younger kids, were set up during a March 28 workday by about 40 volunteers from the three churches. Benches, goals, and nets were set up, and the school received a supply of soccer balls.
While the work was going on, people in the community came to see what was happening and offered to help, Rev. Dr. Buck said.
The churches also donated a new copier, served teachers a soup lunch, and brought them gift sacks and gift cards.
The teachers seemed pleased to receive the surprises, Lobo said. "You did this for me?" she quoted one as saying.
Buck said the project illustrated "churches working together to do something that shares God’s love." He called this project an example of a "unity act."
Lobo said representatives plan to meet again with school staff to discuss other ways the churches might help. One project may be a soccer clinic at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Buck said.
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