How St. Mark Befriended Bright Bridge Ministries
For the past six years that Pastor Robin Noble has been the Executive Director of Bright Bridge Ministries, Pam Osborn, head of the missions board at St. Mark United Methodist Church (UMC), has been helping our ministries, along with others from her church. Pam recalls visiting Gadsden Street UMC many years ago and meeting Pastor Robin when she was the Associate Pastor there, beginning an ongoing friendship. When Pastor Robin started her work at Richard’s Memorial UMC, home of Bright Bridge Ministries, Pam and the other members of St. Mark did not know much about the various ministries at Richard’s Memorial, or how to get involved, but they got to know more, and decided to offer their support. They started out providing a meal just five times per year, on the afternoon of the fifth Sunday of each month, and have since become much more involved with our ministries at Bright Bridge.
St. Mark Stepping up Service to Bright Bridge
Before COVID-19, Sunday night dinners were held at Bright Bridge Ministries, directly following the 4:00 p.m. service for the community. St. Mark and Gadsden Street UMC would collaborate to provide the meal for these Sunday night dinners, typically serving around 70-80 people, 120 maximum. On March 17, 2020, these Sunday night services and dinners ceased due to COVID-19, but opportunities for St. Mark to help our Food Ministry multiplied. With many other feeding programs at a standstill for how to continue operations throughout the pandemic, Bright Bridge’s Food Ministry began serving meals five days a week to pick up the slack, and daily numbers of people served rose to the 300-400 range on a typical day. St. Mark stepped up and began providing a meal every other week, and now every week, on Fridays.
Members of St. Mark who join Pam in outreach efforts like our Food Ministry at Bright Bridge include Doug Heatwohle, Lynn Smith, Dennis McKinnon, Stacey Noble (Pam’s daughter), Peggy Gould (Pam’s mother), and Teresa Vaughn, among others. In addition to preparing the food for our ministries, some of these volunteers actually stay on the premises to serve the meals at Bright Bridge.
Why St. Mark Supports Bright Bridge
When asked why St. Mark supports Bright Bridge Ministries in particular, Pam responded with a story of a place in Alabama called Service in Faith and Technology, where the St. Mark youth groups would go. On the walls were the bible verses from Matthew, saying “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat,” but the last part was changed to “and you formed a committee,” showing how we often fail to act on our plans to do good in the world. Pam and her team at St. Mark want to make sure they are not just talking the talk, but walking the walk, and so they volunteer with Bright Bridge’s Food Ministry, actively addressing the nutritional needs of the most underserved people in our community. Pam added that ideally, the hope is for those being served to get to know Jesus, and that even if this hope is not always realized, we are still called to reach out with love and help our neighbors in need.
Become a Friend of Bright Bridge Like St. Mark
We are touched and grateful for St. Mark’s support over the years, and we hope you will be inspired to support Bright Bridge Ministries as well. Bright Bridge Ministries is now reaching out to more homeless and under-resourced people than ever before, and has become a staple for hot, healthy meals among our neighbors in need. As we continue serving our community in need this holiday season, we encourage you to support us by making a donation. To donate on our website, visit http://whitneys1.sg-host.com/donate/
Checks may be made payable to:
Bright Bridge Ministries
2600 W. Strong Street
Pensacola, FL 32505
(You may indicate a specific ministry on the “For” line.)