Redan UMC Invests Toward a Brighter Future
In June 2010, Redan UMC in Lithonia, Ga. was in need of a miracle due to declining membership and major debt. Then God delivered one. Two weeks after the Rev. Dr. Patricia Pace retired from the North Georgia Conference after 26 years in ministry, she was assigned to Redan UMC.
Fueled by her love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, at 78 Pace is still a force of nature. She was born on Auburn Avenue in the Fourth Ward of Atlanta, Ga. Inspired by the preaching of the Rev. William Holmes Borders and influenced by the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. and the Rev. A. D. King, the brother of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pace became an activist in the civil rights movement marches of the 1960s.
A mover and a shaker when it comes to ministry, it comes as no surprise Pace was up for the challenges at Redan UMC. “How are you going to help people see Christ if you are so burdened down financially? So I go in to help them get out of debt, to be financially sound, to get a budget, to tithe, and to develop a building fund,” she said.
Today, Redan UMC is a thriving multicultural church located on a 12+ acre campus. The Church has not only paid off its debt, they have established a Building Fund and invested over $250,000 in the Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s Certificate Program.
When Pace was appointed to Redan UMC in June 2010, the Church had $585,000 in debt from the construction of a Family Life Building, which was built in 1988. "By November 2011, we owed $222,000," she said. "I attribute this to the efforts of the Church and the Finance Chair, Delroy Campbell, who had kept $76,000 in the treasury. We now have 137 members and have paid off the Family Life Building.”
Pace used the $76,000 to extend the front porch, add handicap accessible ramps, railings, a sidewalk, a large foyer, a finance room, two new restrooms, a church steeple, and a sign, and to remodel two bathrooms.
Along with Pace’s vision of revitalization came the congregation’s dream for a brighter future. “From 2014 to 2016, the Church raised over $250,000 toward the $750,000 that the Conference says we must have to build a new $1.3 million sanctuary,” said Pace.
“The current sanctuary is 122-years-old and may be able to seat 110 people,” said Jim Gaillard, Lay Leader at Redan UMC. “Our new church will consist of a 250-seat sanctuary, classrooms, a fellowship hall, and office space. This community is hungry for ministries, and that’s what we hope to provide.”
Weekly fundraising barbecues have contributed over $20,000 toward the Building Fund for the new sanctuary. “About six years ago, we started cooking barbecue ribs and chicken for about 15 to 20 people,” said Sam Dilworth, Board of Trustee at Redan UMC. “Now we have hundreds of people who come each week.”
It is interesting to note that Pace has also invested her own personal savings in the GUMF’s Certificate Program.
“There are several reasons I invested in the foundation. The first is because they are Methodists. Secondly, I felt it was a safe investment. I looked at the track record and other ministers and churches that were invested and had also deemed it safe. I call that character. I believe the foundation has character with the people that it serves, and the work that it does,” she explained. “The third reason was that I was not making any money at the local bank. Finally, it feels good to take my money and use it for the good of the Kingdom.” To this the Rev. Keith E. Lawder, President/CEO of the GUMF, adds a hearty, “Amen!”
This article was originally published in the Fall 2016 edition of Faith & Money, a publication of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.