I must admit that my husband Rick was right! First United Methodist Church Plano is busy providing many rooms for differences, many opportunities to serve and be in mission. This past week were two outstanding examples – the charity fund-raiser golf tournament at Eldorado Country Club in McKinney and the Plano Balloon Festival.
The goal of our participation in both, in addition to a sense of community, was to provide resources for our mission work! The “birds” were hard at work before and after the Balloon Festival. Eddy and team were hard at work for weeks and weeks preparing for the golf tournament. A team of folks from our congregation spent long hours working the Balloon Festival guided by Randy Jennings. Both events were dependent on weather conditions.
In staff this week, stories were told about people who paid for parking, only to learn later that the balloons would not launch, that even “glow” would not happen because of the high winds. There were various responses to “no balloons” – from anger to generosity to a written apology. One gentleman stopped long enough to inquire of Brad Boganwright about how much of the $10 went to mission and how much to other expenses (such as city fees). When Brad told him that missions received 80%, the gentleman gave him a hundred-dollar bill and said, “Well, I hope that 80% of my ten and another 80% of the hundred will help with missions!"
Even though it is printed on all tickets that FUMC Plano’s only involvement in the festival is to park cars, guests at the balloon festival, like guests at the golf tournament, have little time to discern the disconnect. The eternal truth then is that, for some, there is only a small time to provide a window into what it means to be the church.
Funds are still being collected for the golf tourney and receipts from balloon festival expenses, but here is the ballpark figure from these two events:
$22,500 from balloon festival ($29,000 collected);
and $16,500 after bills from golf tourney – a huge number compared to previous years.
Meanwhile, I keep passing Barbara Edhlund in the hall as she and her class and 150 volunteers so far (she needs more!) prepare for the gift to the community of “Journey to Bethlehem” this Advent season.
Thank you to all who provided and are providing many different windows and rooms.