Photo: Earlville UMC men repair Illinois church
EARLVILLE, Ill. –– Earlville UMC has had a continuously chartered group of UM Men for 54 years.
Over that period of time, the men have literally rebuilt the church from the basement to the roof. They even provided financial help to a sister congregation that found it difficult to pay their apportionments.
“They are just a group of disciples doing God’s work day after day,” said Scott Brooks, president of the DeKalb District of UM Men.. “They are not looking for a pat on the back or even an “atta-boy!” Just doing biblical deeds and rooting themselves in His Word.”
The men operate a farm with the seed, chemicals and farming equipment donated by area farmers. Much of the produce is donated to local food banks and sale profits support church-maintenance and mission projects.
“We’ve been blessed, said Carl Finkle, president of UM Men. “For most of the 54 years the UM Men of Earlville have cash rented farm land –– first from a local business now moved from the area –– and now from one of the members of the congregation.”
“Apart from God’s grace; the only other reason for their longevity exists in their purpose,” said the Rev. Cheri Stewart, pastor of Earlville UMC. “Ask any member of Earlville UM Men and they’d very humbly tell you: the farm helps us care for our church and support local missions like our ‘Sharing Hearts’ food pantry and the Earlville Food Resource Bank.”
Stewart calls the farm the best kept secret in the Northern Illinois Conference. “This group of guys and their commitment to farming and the church’s ministry is God's dream for sure, but it is also any pastor’s dream.”