Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Parking

Photo by Rev. Dr. Michelle Morris, Senior Pastor of FUMC Bentonville

First United Methodist Bentonville has been letting the community park in its downtown Bentonville parking lot for a long time. This has been a significant benefit for people visiting because downtown Bentonville’s development and events make parking hard to find.   

“One day, I parked in the lot for Saturday Farmers’ Market,” shared Jeff Rickard, member of First United Methodist Church in Bentonville, “and it just occurred to me that allowing public use of this private lot is so consistent with the United Methodist value of openness, then “Open Parking” popped in my head.”

This idea made Rickard think that there might be a way that the church could take this a step further and allow people the opportunity to help the community – a kind of “pay the kindness forward” option.  And he immediately realized that this giving would need to be voluntary and not go to the church, but rather to local non-profits in the community. 

“I brought this idea to Rev. Michelle Morris (Senior Pastor of Bentonville FUMC) and she was so supportive.  She brought this idea to the FUMC leadership and they approved,” added Rickard. 

Morris shared, “It is so exciting to serve alongside laity who regularly envision innovative ways to share Christ with our community and to be faithful neighbors alongside all the people of Bentonville.”

Rickard added, “I’m proud that our church serves the community in so many ways, big and small.”

Learn more about Bentonville First United Methodist Church.

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