Pulpit Story: Tuck’s Chapel
By Kaylea Hutson
Hammers, nails, paint scrapers and quarts of paint. Simple supplies, amazing results.
For approximately 70 volunteers, representing more than a dozen churches throughout the Northwest District of the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, it also meant being able to help the small congregation of Tuck’s Chapel, located in rural Rogers, Ark.
For several hours on Saturday, April 9, people—including a large number of youth—from several churches scraped and painted walls, replaced damaged siding and built a wheelchair ramp.
The Rev. Mackey Yokem, Northwest District superintendent, said the event was a success for three reasons: “the cooperation, the spirit, the results.”
“It was work that needed to be done,” Yokem said. “Here is a small church in the midst of a growing community, showing their neighbors their commitment to the ministry to congregations and surrounding neighborhoods.
“Who doesn’t benefit from this kind of work? Those giving time and energy using their skills, the folks who provided the funds to purchase the materials, the local congregation that sees their building being reborn, the community seeing a place set aside for preaching the word of God and nurturing the body of Christ, that’s a Win, Win, and Win for the Kingdom!”
For Brian Youngs, pastor of Tuck’s Chapel, the day provided several benefits.
“The outreach from our sister churches is indescribable,” Youngs said. “Having been the pastor for almost a year, it was evident that the church exterior was losing its battle with Mother Nature.
“Also, it was difficult for many in our congregation to navigate the concrete steps and get into the church.”
Youngs said the day “was nothing short of a miracle” as he watched the wheelchair ramp installation and the repairs made to the building’s exterior.
“Our congregation did not have the ability to undertake an effort of this size, nor did we have the financial resources to support it,” Youngs continued.
“We hoped that we could restore the condition of the church to what it was, but never dreamed of the amount of work and efforts that came to be. For those of you who have never witnessed ‘holy horsepower,’ it is truly a sight to see. Without the gift of today’s hands and feet, we are not certain of what we would have done to restore the church.”
The Rev. Clefton Vaughan, event organizer, said the project had several purposes.
“We need to do whatever we can to help one another,” Vaughan said. “Something wonderful happens when we pull together as a community of faith. With over fifty people working together, we had laughter, joy, sweat, worship – in all of which, God was glorified.
“Each participant benefits as they pull together serving God. They make new friends, and visions become reality for many. And … of course, the community surrounding Tuck’s Chapel will benefit. As they see the renovations to Tuck’s Chapel and are led by the Spirit of God to the church, God is glorified.”
Throughout the project, more than 20 youth from Central UMC Rogers and First UMC Bentonville helped scrape and paint much of the building.
Yokem said their involvement—part of a 30 Hour Famine project—made him feel hopeful.
“I was just glad to be there with them,” he said.
“Truly the work could not have been done without the youth.” He said. “The youth worked diligently, gracefully, and with joy. Through their hard work, we were able to scrape and paint most of the church.
“I loved seeing the variety of ages of those who willingly and lovingly came to serve—from young children to students to our eldest workers.”
Yokem said he hoped people participating in the event would take away several things.
“In these simple moments, great truths are born: working and serving together in Christ’s name, the world can be transformed,” he said, adding, “We care for one another. We help one another and rule #2 ‘Do all the good you can’ is more than a rule, it is in fact, a blessing.”
About Tuck’s Chapel
Tuck’s Chapel was built in 1871 on land donated by Susan and Thomas Tuck. Logs felled on the property by local loggers and town workers helped build the chapel.
Part of its history included being the site of a subscription school was held in the winter months, with each family paying a portion of the teacher’s salary.
Currently, the church has five members, with an average of seven regular attendees.
Youngs said he hoped the renovations—especially the wheelchair ramp—would provide a new genesis for outreach into the community, because it would improve access to the facility.
Volunteers taking part in the event represented the following churches: Grace UMC – Rogers, Oakley Chapel UMC – Rogers, Highlands UMC – Bella Vista, First UMC – Rogers, Prairie Grove UMC – Prairie Grove, Fellowship Bible Church – Rogers, Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral – Shreveport, La., Wesley UMC – Springdale, Central UMC – Fayetteville, Central UMC – Rogers, First UMC – Bentonville, Brightwater – Rogers, Sequoyah UMC – Fayetteville, and Bland Chapel UMC – Rogers.
Watch a video, created by Keith Youngs, from photos taken from the event.
Photos by Kaylea Hutson & Keith Youngs.
Pulpit Stories appear periodically on the Northwest District blog. Have a story from your congregation you would like to share? Visit the submission form at http://www.nwdist.org/ps_submissions/.