Church: Park Avenue UMC
District: Twin Cities
Submitted by: Christa Meland
It all began when a member of Park Avenue United Methodist Church’s Women to Women Ministries group read a book called Conspiracy of Kindness (Regal, 2008). The book’s premise is that every person who believes in God can be an effective evangelist through unassuming acts of kindness.
The Women to Women Ministries group started thinking about the ways it could spread God’s love through such an act and decided to distribute muffins to people passing by the church in vehicles and by foot.
On Sunday, members of the group set up two tables and a hand painted “Free Muffin” sign on the corner of Park Avenue South and East 34th Street, right outside the church, and they handed muffins to passers-by. Each muffin was wrapped in an individual cellophane bag and contained a note saying “Showing God’s love in a simple way,” along with “Women to Women Ministries,” the church’s name, address, pastors, and worship times—and the quote “God is love” from I John 4:8.
“I think people were surprised and happy,” says June Webb-Notermann, a member of Park UMC and its Women to Women Ministries group.
The Sunday before the muffin distribution, church members volunteered to make muffins—about 16 dozen, or 192, in total. Others offered to help bag the muffins shortly before the distribution.
Not long after the muffin hand-out commenced at 9 a.m., the muffin supply was running short. So volunteers went and bought about 50 additional muffins, all of which were gone by 11.
Webb-Notermann says the experience reminded her “how powerful God works through a simple muffin,” adding, “a smile to somebody or just the tiniest little things God uses in powerful ways.”
Not only did the muffin ministry provide some unexpected cheer to recipients, but the women involved in organizing it had fun doing it. And, as Webb-Notermann points out, the ministry increased the church’s exposure within the community.
“Now they know we’re there,” she says.
When asked if the Women to Women Ministry will do the muffin ministry again, Webb-Notermann said: “We’ll see where God leads us next year . . . but if God puts it on our hearts to do it again next year, we’ll have to plan for more muffins.”
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404