As the Christian world was busy celebrating Christmas on December 25, 2021, the pastor and elders of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Church were preparing to distribute care packages in the form of plants grown in their backyards for their parishioners. Deliveries were made during the last week of December 2021 and the first week of January 2022. “A plant is symbolic of a new beginning,” says Ludlow Bartley, church elder.
Amid the pandemic, Jeffrey Thompson, Ph.D., senior pastor, decided to plant some aloe vera plants in his backyard in a raised bed garden that he built, since aloe vera is well known for its healing properties for the skin. He watered the plants heavily once every two weeks.
The pastor encouraged his elders to plant a flower or plant to give to parishioners by the end of 2021. They excitedly accepted the idea and grew a variety of plants. During the holidays eight teams, composed of elders and their spouses and the pastor and his wife, visited congregants, dropped off the plants, and offered a short prayer at the front door as they practiced social distancing.
Guests, including Mary Jane Lunas, received a plant as they visited the church on January 8, 2022. Lunas had contacted Fort Lauderdale Church via Facebook and expressed an interest in attending in-person worship at the church, having never worshiped in an Adventist church. “The sermon was just what I needed,” she said after her dream became a reality.
During the first and second quarters of 2021, the pastor and board of elders of Fort Lauderdale Church did a similar initiative of distributing a care package to every family in its church amid the pandemic.
Florida | April 2022