Whitehall UMC lifts voices in unique outreach


Special to the Advocate
LOUISVILLE — Keeping alive a Christmas tradition has turned into a year-round mission outreach at Whitehall United Methodist Church.

The “Dream Team,” as the group calls itself, went caroling before Christmas last year. When they met back at the church, everyone was swapping stories of the tears and smiles they had seen.

 “I thought we would never be able to leave the nursing home,” said Sissie Watts. “We kept finding people to sing to.”      

Others went to homes. “We just didn’t have enough time. We’ve got to start earlier next time,” exclaimed Linda Whitehead. 

Then the obvious suggestion was made: Let’s not wait for Christmas.

The group decided they would go “caroling” each quarter. Familiar hymns would be used. When they gathered again to go “Easter caroling,” they returned with the same problem — they needed more time. In July they left even earlier with a guitar and a list of praise songs. As usual, the greatest blessing was had by those singing. 

“I really wasn’t sure about going but it was awesome,” commented Andy Lemmon, the youth leader. 

“The best part is that even I can come and sing,” laughed Frankie Matthews.

The “Dream Team” isn’t just choir members; it includes children, youth and anyone interested.

 “This is so exciting to see. You look into people’s faces and you know that we’re doing the right thing,” said Ada Woodward, the co-chair of the team of about 10 people.

She and her husband, Richard Woodward, mastermind the activities each month as they visit shut-ins, inactive members and people in the community. They write cards, make calls and visit. Some always stay behind to pray.

During the spring they gave a “traveling baby shower” for a young expectant mother. They surprised her at home with gifts, diapers and prayers.

They also do a “neighborhood invasion.” This is where they go door to door to pray with anyone they find at home, making friends and sometimes finding old ones.

 “It’s so simple. You knock on a door and ask if they have needs. Then you pray with them, and you can feel the spirit,” said the Rev. Diane Lemmon. “It’s about starting relationships. No church attendance speech or sermon; we just tell them God loves them. That simple – that powerful.”