The COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed three church seasons. Volunteers marked Pentecost with the delivery of 300 red pinwheels as a reminder the Spirit of First UMC Howell is alive and well.
Senior Content Editor
The Book of Acts begins the reporting of the first day of Pentecost with these words, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven, there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” In 2020, all these many years later, the Pentecost Day winds came to Howell, Michigan, with a more gentle but no less powerful force.
The Rev. George Lewis, the pastor of Howell First United Methodist Church, explains. “We wanted the Pentecost Spirit to soar all around our community.” That soaring took the form of bright red pinwheels that were delivered by volunteers in the congregation to members and friends of the church. Lewis continues, “The pinwheels went in the yards of many people who haven’t been outside of their homes in several weeks. Howell FUMC is continuing to be a caring community growing in faith, hope, and love.”
That the effort was well received is evident on their Facebook Page, as folks reporting finding the pinwheels with delight and surprise. “Thank you so much, church family. I just discovered the pinwheel this morning, and I felt the true meaning of Pentecost.”… “Thanks to the church. What a comforting feeling.”… “Thank you for our pinwheel! I didn’t get a picture of it before a certain little five-year-old in our house confiscated it.” The winds of Pentecost blow and inspire kids, too!
Church member Ellen Paige says that there were 20 persons involved in the delivery. “We delivered almost 300 pinwheels. We have a widespread congregation. The furthest home was 30 miles one way from the church.” She adds, “Several of us know we drove over a hundred miles!” She notes that all deliveries were made with appropriate social distancing. “The idea was to leave the pinwheel without making a face-to-face visit.”
Project Pinwheels included a card with a greeting and a prayer. Ellen says, “The card reminded the recipient that the church is alive and well, and we wanted people to feel the Spirit reaching out to them.” The reverse side of the card included information about Pentecost and an invitation to “Spread the Spirit!” by “calling another member or two just to connect.” And, of course, people were encouraged to wear red for Pentecost.
Pentecost was made more inspirational and awesome for God’s people of Howell UMC thanks to Project Pinwheels. Ellen speaks of the double blessing. “Those who delivered expressed gratitude that they could ‘do something’ in this time of stay-at-home. We miss our church activities and interactions so much.” She reports an unanticipated new insight. “It also gave us an appreciation for the distances some drive to be part of our church family.
“Our pinwheel made me smile,” said one person in the Howell First UMC family on Facebook. A good dose of the Holy Spirit can do that and so much more, even during a pandemic.