Fishweir students make holidays better for rural community

Fishweir students make holidays better for rural community
Sheron Willson, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Lawtey,Florida with Fishweir Elementary students Ethan Royce, William Dobbins, Lily and Daisy Hardaker

With the idea of “children helping children,” students from Fishweir Elementary School collect canned goods to donate to Grace United Methodist Church in Lawtey, which provides weekend food boxes for 25 children in 10 families at Lawtey Community Elementary School through a program called Feed My Sheep.

Fishweir Elementary also has a semi-annual tradition of donating items from the Lost and Found box before the Christmas and summer breaks to a needful organization. This past Christmas, the school donated the unclaimed items, along with new pajamas and socks, to the church in Lawtey, a rural community in Bradford County.

“We were delighted,” said Sheron Willson, pastor of Grace UMC. “So far we have distributed 20 jackets or sweaters and a pair of shoes to local children. We are continuing the distribution as the school staff, local officials, and friends of Grace UMC identify the needs.”

Willson, an Avondale resident, was a real estate broker for more than two decades, most recently with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty Network. She was also an active lay servant at Lake Shore Methodist Church.

Milo Chandler, Aiden McFall, Sawyer Jackson and A.J. Cruz-Medina
Milo Chandler, Aiden McFall, Sawyer Jackson and A.J. Cruz-Medina

“I often delivered the Sunday message when the pastor was out of town or when the church was between pastors,” said Willson. It was during her lay ministry service that she realized the call to full-time ministry.  “On a trip to Israel with Shoresh USA in 2008, I was drawn to the verses ‘Feed My Sheep’ and ‘Follow Me’ and then in 2013 I attended the Walk to Emmaus where the call became clear for me.”

While continuing in the real estate business, Willson trained to become a Licensed Local Pastor in the Methodist church. In early 2018 she retired from real estate and was called to serve Grace UMC in July.

“Being raised in Riverside and Avondale and managing the historic offices of BHHSFNR for so long, this historic church, built in 1889 and its rich history, is a perfect place for Jack and me at this time of our lives. The congregation is an active, warm and welcoming group with a heart for the community and we are so very happy to be serving the Lord in this place,” said Willson.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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