On March 31, 2020, Pastor Rhett Ansley of the Wildwood United Methodist Church spoke to the membership of the Magnolia Rotary Club about his church and what they are doing in the community. The meeting was held using Zoom online meeting services due to the Corona Virus. Pictured above from top to bottom and left to right are: Tom Grayson, Carl Gerhardt, Charles Schultz, Hugh Fullerton, Billy Riley, Frank Parker, Ted Cummings, Janice Thigpen (President), Glenn Buckley, Kelly McDonald, Pastor Rhett Ansley, and Richard Allison.
Pastor Ansley told everyone that the Wildwood United Methodist Church (UMC) located at 8911 FM 1488 was founded in the year 2000 and today has around 1200 members with about 500 members attending at each of the 9:00AM and 11:00AM worship services. However, like many churches have done due to the Corona Virus, they have mostly moved online except for ministries that require some level of physical presence like their food drives where cars drive through and get loaded up with groceries and other items. However, when he first moved to the area 6 years ago, Pastor Ansley found that it was difficult to describe to others exactly where his church is located since at the time FM1488 still had mostly trees on both sides of the road. However,as his church has reached out to people and organizations in the area, most people now know where the church is located.
Pastor Ansley told everyone that the mission of his church as a compassionate church is to connect people to Jesus Christ and one another. He also pointed out that many of our club members know Jeff Springer who used to be a Principle at MHS before becoming the lead for men's ministries at Wildwood UMC. Pastor Ansley also stated that if anyone in our group needed any help during theses trying times, they could reach out to the Rev. Amy Boriack who heads up the Family Assistance Ministry. Amy can be reached at "amy@wildwood-umc.org".
Pastor Ansley told us that in early February 2020, he led a group of about 40 people on a pilgrimage to Israel. They returned on February 26 but not after the Corona Virus had already become a problem in Israel. In fact they were in the garden next to the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem for Ash Wednesday when they became aware of the virus. They were lucky that flights had not yet been cancelled before they came back but Pastor Ansley remembers distinctly while coming back on the flight between Frankfurt and Houston just exactly how real the virus had become.
Pastor Ansley pointed out how now they do all worship online as well as all church meetings with the exception of their Assistance Ministry which is still helping people in the community who can not easily help themselves. To achieve this goal, his church partners with SOS, grocery stores, and local businessmen to help those in need. He pointed out that currently his efforts are now being concentrated on senior adults as 8 of his members, who live in an adult center in the Woodlands, have come down with the Corona Virus.
Pastor Ainsley also holds classes on both pre-marriage and marriage enrichment and expects to roll out the first class in a couple of weeks, although online. He also believes in mental health and works with people dealing with mental health issues. He especially pointed out that teenagers in these trying times really need adult champions in their lives and he is glad that our Rotary Club is working to help those teens with depression and suicide tendencies. A lot of their depression is created by social media which can be used used for good or for evil. Pastor Ansley stated that we all get the choice as to whether to build up or tear down someone when using social media. It is up to each of us to make the choice to build up people and not tear anyone down. To see the first video produced by The Magnolia Rotary Club and Reflective Life Ministries, go to #Talk2Me .
One of our members then asked if our club could help his church in any way. Pastor Ansley stated that if anyone is not in a risky age group and is physically well, they can contact Rev. Amy Boriack who heads up the Family Assistance Ministry. They always can use volunteers for community outreach. Amy can be reached at "amy@wildwood-umc.org".