Sister Hilda’s Action Plan to Reach New People
By Doug Ruffle
Hilda Macauley is the lay leader at Glenn Dale United Methodist Church in Glenn Dale, Maryland. Sister Hilda completed the online course created by Path 1, Lay Planting in Today’s World: Engaging All People with Jesus’ Love in January 2021. Each student who participated in the course created an action plan to start a new ministry. Sister Hilda worked with her pastor, the Rev. Adam Snell, and came up with a plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Drawing upon what she learned in the online course, Sister Hilda started a new faith community within Glenn Dale United Methodist Church, using The Upper Room daily devotional. Sister Hilda says of her action plan, “We come together and share the good news of God’s reign and God’s love for us while using the content of The Upper Room. We created a small group where relationships of trust, love, and confidentiality are shared.” Pastor Snell was very supportive of the plan.
“We come together and share the good news of God’s reign and God’s love for us while using the content of The Upper Room."
Sister Hilda obtained her own Zoom account and began meeting with others on Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Nine others joined her, including a relative of hers who lives in North Carolina. They followed the “Easy Plan to Use The Upper Room in Small Groups” found in the back of every edition of the daily devotional magazine. Sister Hilda wrote, “It was a great success, and we opened ourselves up to each other, as we shared our experiences and listened to each other with respect.” They used the devotions for Wednesdays that are linked to the questions for small groups in the “Easy Plan.”
When the pandemic abates and new ministries can be started in the community, Sister Hilda plans to work with others from Glenn Dale UMC to form a “planter team” that canvasses the community to listen attentively to the people and offer comfort and support by sharing the good news of God’s promises for humankind.
In this season of Pentecost, we celebrate the faithful witness and work of laypeople like Sister Hilda, who are starting new ministries to reach new people with the love of God through Jesus Christ.