Blessed in the giving

Pastor Johnny Arrington helping out with the Giving Tree distribution at the United Meeker Methodist Church. He and his wife Patti consider themselves “blessed” to be able to give back to the community through the Giving Tree, which Patti helps to spearhead.

Pastor Johnny Arrington helping out with the Giving Tree distribution at the United Meeker Methodist Church. He and his wife Patti consider themselves “blessed” to be able to give back to the community through the Giving Tree, which Patti helps to spearhead.
MEEKER I “I love everything about it, helping families and knowing what we are doing is good,” Patti Arrington said about the Giving Tree project she helps spearhead. Her words are as sincere as the actions that accompany them.
Patti and her husband Johnny, pastor of the United Methodist Church of Meeker, give much to their community.
The couple moved to Meeker in 2003 from Dolores, Colo. Previously, as is apparent from their accents, they lived in Oklahoma. When they first arrived in Meeker, the church was attended regularly by 35-40 members. They now welcome more then 90 people on any given Sunday.
The new church building extends the history of the Methodist church in Meeker which was first chartered in the Powell Park School in 1893. The church moved to its current location in 1899. The first services were held in the new building on Dec. 19, 2010.
This Thanksgiving the Arringtons took some time off to visit their family in Texas. They have a son and daughter-in-law who have twin 3-year-old daughters and their daughter and son-in-law have a 3-year-old son.
As well as creating a fun place for children at the church, Patti has been leading the way for the Giving Tree since the church took over supervision of the project five years ago. The Giving Tree’s biggest year was in 2009 when 75 families and 174 children were recipients of Christmas gifts through the project. In the past two years the Giving Tree has made Christmas special for approximately 44 families and 115 children per year.
This season, devoted volunteers delivered the gifts and food last Saturday. Seeing the looks on the recipients’ faces makes all the work truly rewarding and brings out the best of the spirit of Christmas.
The Arringtons also help with the Breaking Bread ministry in cooperation with other churches and individuals, providing a free meal on Thursday evenings beginning at 5:30 at the Episcopal church. The goal is simply to provide a meal.
The Methodist church also houses the community food bank. Patti said the support of the community is overwhelming. “People join together to help others.”
The couple have also been a part of five or six trips to Mexico to help build casitas for families in need in Rio Bravo, Mexico.
The casitas are very simple. There’s no electricity, no running water, just cinder blocks, two doors, two windows and a tin roof, but they are typical of homes there and appreciated by the people. The Arringtons have made great friends through these efforts and feel the trips have changed so many people’s lives. Patti said, “You get to know the families, and fall in love, They have so little but yet so much.”
Their most recent trip included 27 people; four youth and 23 adults.
“You go with the anticipation of being a blessing and you come back blessed,” Johnny said.
The trips are hard work, no doubt, but the experience is worth every minute.
The two also help with the annual fall coat drive and are supporters of the “backpack program” that provides food for low-income schoolchildren for the weekend, when they don’t have access to school-provided breakfasts and lunches. Patti works with Donna Day to do whatever she can do to help. Church members have embraced the program and help fill the backpacks that are sent home every week to nearly 50 children in Meeker and Rangely.
The youth group at the church is approximately 25 strong and “it is so much fun,” Patti said. She complimented the current kids who are members as well as past members who have grown into successful, well-rounded young people. The Arringtons look forward to a busy Christmas weekend as the church will offer a Christmas Eve service at 6 p.m. and a Christmas Day celebration at 9:45 a.m.
The Arringtons are givers — content to give of themselves and always on the lookout for new ways to contribute to the community. They attend many local sporting events and enjoy many community activities.
This Christmas may we all find it within ourselves to follow their example of giving and to embrace all the blessings our small towns offer. Regardless of one’s religion, the belief in giving to one another should be universal.