When we open our hearts to live a life inspired by God’s love, it can change the world. It compels us to open our doors to those who are hungry, sick, or forgotten. It leads us to reach out to those who are struggling. It drives us to stand together for justice and inclusion. When we live with open hearts, church can happen anywhere.
By Trishna Buch
Everyone has a different calling in life. For Norm Borders and Barbara Cook, this calling involves service and helping people that may need some extra assistance in their day to day life. Both Borders and Cook work for the First United Methodist Church in La Marque. Cook is the leadership chair and Borders is known as the “jack-of-all trades”.
While Cook was born in Galveston and has lived in La Marque her entire life, Borders was born in Missouri and has lived all over America, and even in Canada. Borders had a cancer scare 12 years ago and was part of a program that provided him assistance in Virginia. “This gave me the desire to go into the business of providing assistance and service to others. I saw how people took the time to help me in my time of need, and I want to do that for others.” He has worked for churches, “in one capacity or another”, for 13 years. Cook has been in the church service for 18 years.
The services offered by the First United Methodist Church include a Food Truck, a Food Pantry, and a Clothes Closet. Borders and Cook came by the office to explain how these services work, and to also talk about the church’s additional services. The Food Truck is on the church grounds every other Wednesday from 8:30 to 11:00am, with check-in starting at 6:30am. On food-truck day people are invited to come out to the church and take home food as they need. The only requirement is that they fill out a form stating that they meet the income guidelines.
The Food Pantry—which is closed on food truck day—and the Clothes Closet work exactly as they sound. If people require the services of the pantry or the closet, all they have to is call the church’s number, 409-938-7226, and make an appointment to come by pick up any items they may need. “Our phones are monitored 24/7, so just call in whenever you need something and your call will be answered,” Cook said.
Along with the food truck, food pantry, and clothes closet—the church also holds concerts on a monthly basis. These concerts are free and open to the public, and they always welcome monetary donations to support the Christian bands and singers that come to play. The church is part of the Bay Area Gospel Music Association and the South Texas Gospel Association, where they often find performers. The next concert is on October 8. All concerts start at 4:00pm.
The church used to have a service called the “Holy Day Inn”. This inn, which was located on the church premises, includes an area with two rooms; each with ten beds and a common living area. “This inn is for missionaries who may have to come to the area to help out during any calamities, such as a hurricane, and need a place to stay.” The Inn is currently not in operation because it is in need of a few necessary improvements. They welcome any donations to help kick-start this process. “Our goal is to expand the inn, and offer services so that if people are displaced they can stay at the inn,” Borders said
The church is also heavily involved in the community. They participate in Crime Stoppers, Coffee With A Cop and National Night Out. They are a part of the La Marque Ministerial Association and hosted the Galveston County Head Start—a government funded preschool—for seven months. The church also has a medical closet, which holds items such as wheelchairs and other special needs items.
Borders and Cook are holding a fundraiser on November 10 and 11, with a series of six concerts and a barbeque dinner with all the trimmings. For more information you can call the church or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The church welcomes all donations—monetary, clothes, food and anything else you can provide. All they ask is that you call in first before going to the location to drop off anything you can.