CHARLOTTE – In the heart of the Mountain Island community, Cook’s Memorial Presbyterian Church offers praise to those who serve, both locally and abroad.
The Rev. Lynn Thompson Bryant is the pastor at Cook’s and enjoys getting the congregation involved in more illustrative services. She came from Ohio, where she served seven churches, and in her eight months here, she is already impressed by the car show and numerous BBQs and the church holds.
Since Bryant is relatively new, Gaye List, in charge of the church’s missions, provided information regarding Kajiado Children’s Home. Some of the answers have been edited.
Mountain Island Monitor: What is the church’s relationship with Kajiado Children’s Home and how did it form?
Gaye List: Cook’s Church began supporting Kajiado Children’s Home (in Kenya) in 2008 through donated clothing/school supplies and the child sponsorship program. In 2010, Cook’s Mission Ministry led its first mission trip to Kajiado, and has continued to lead trips each year since then. Eighty-two participants have visited Kajiado Children’s Home through our mission trips since 2010. In 2014, members of Cook’s formed a nonprofit organization, called Hope For Kajiado, and received 501(c)(3) status in 2016. Volunteer professionals run the organization so that 100 percent of sponsorship dollars go directly to the home for their care. Members of our church currently provide support for 20 children at the home. Cook’s Church is happy to have had a positive impact on these orphans in Kenya, and share the love of God with our brothers and sisters in Christ there.
MIM: What do you believe is the best part of your job?
Lynn Thompson Bryant: I enjoy involving the members in creating illustrative worship services. Occasions like World Communion, Advent, Lent, Pentecost, Reformation Sunday, etc. create an invitation for members to participate in worship instead of listening to a sermon. Vacation Bible School gave us a wonderful opportunity for the youth and children to lead worship with their learnings from “These Living Waters.” I also really appreciate the privilege of visiting with people, building friendships and sharing our faith journeys.
MIM: What is the most difficult part?
LTB: The heartaches that come with tragedy, illness and conflict are very difficult. Learning how to manage struggle, tension and, ideally, reconciliation are the ways we learn. But these are costly lessons. These experiences lead me though, back to the absolute treasure of belonging to a loving, supportive and evolving community. None of us would ever choose to walk through grief, depression and/or tempting trials, but we gain more insight into ourselves and our relationships when we are in a safe environment for discernment and risk-taking.
MIM: What are some new things going on in the church?
LTB: I believe the people at Cook’s Memorial would say we are growing from more participation in worship: music, drama and creative arts. This church is full of talent, commitment and energy. One member suggested having a service to honor first responders who pour their lives into saving others caught up in natural or human made disasters. We gave honorary certificates to the police, firefighters, EMT saints and pilots. Everyone enjoyed seeing the helicopter land next to the church!
MIM: What are some major, annual events at your church?
LTB: “OH!” I was amazed with the recent Antique Car Show. Members said it was the best ever, and I believe it. I was very inspired by the homecoming gathering the last Sunday in August. I met many members of the extended family.