Florida's Oldest United Methodist Church with Sunday Services at 8:00am, 9:30am, and 11:00am

If Tools Could Talk

The Repair & Renewal Ministry use their gifts to serve
Featured Article by Kelsey Seager

Walking into the workshop, I could see it was a used and well loved place. Piles of wood were scattered about, destined to be colorful toy trains, beautiful church pews, and carefully crafted stools. Tools of all shapes and sizes covered in saw dust lined the walls, waiting to be used. It was mid-morning and Murray Jones, the coordinator of the Repair & Renewal Ministry, was getting ready to start his day as he greeted me. Murray has been the ministry head for nine years and a member for nineteen. He prides himself on creating a calm and encouraging work environment for his members. He comes well suited for the job with a Masters in Teaching Industrial Arts and a degree in Industrial Arts to match.

The Repair & Renewal Ministry has been part of First Church for 30 years and still plays a vital role. Their main purpose is to meet the repair needs of the church, but they also create toys that are donated to United Ministries, and construct projects that are sold by the UMW at Christmas Creations to raise funds. The ministry currently consists of 11 men and 4 women who primarily meet on Wednesdays from 9:00am – Noon, breaking during the summer months. On the first and third Tuesday of each month you will find the workshop occupied by the women of First Church. They busy themselves with cutting out wheels, painting, and assembling toy trains, cars and tractors.

Murray proceeded to show me around the large workshop and described each tool and its purpose. Men continued to make their way into the workshop as we walked around, each finding a place to make themselves useful. First year member, Allen Bounds, quietly worked gathering and measuring the pieces that would become a wooden step stool. “This is a mission where I can use my odd talents. I’m good at fixing things and this is a place I can do it”, said Bounds. Bill Cebula, just having gotten out of the hospital, is taking it easy as he sands a wine rack that he previously made. “I like to have a little fun and do something constructive instead of sitting in front of the television,” Cebula said.

Murray and I continued our tour outside where we stopped at a doorway. He proudly showed me a simple wooden sign with the words ‘JACK AND MURRAY’S SHOP’ routed into it. Murray explained that he had originally made the sign in honor of the founding member and original coordinator of twenty-one years, Jack Stockton. Jack passed away in September of 2007 and Murray created the sign to read, ‘JACK’S SHOP’ Murray retired in 2013 after six years as coordinator, and long time member, Mike Olroyd took on the roll of coordinator. During Mike’s first year, he added Murray’s name to the sign. Mike Olroyd later passed away in August of 2014, and Murray came out of retirement to continue as coordinator.

If tools could talk they would tell of the hands that used them, the broken things they fixed, and everything they created. The Repair & Renewal Ministry continue to use their tools and gifts well to serve our church. If you are interested in being part of this wonderful ministry, contact the church office for more information.

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