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Being a part of a connectional church allows us to be delighted when we encounter other members in our public lives. Thanks to Maggie Orr from Caliente UMC for sharing this special experience of engaging Zion UMC (North Las Vegas UMC) in her professional life.

Several years ago, Zion UMC received an Urban Conservation grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts to work with the Conservation District of Southern Nevada to begin their Community Garden. You can read about this at https://www.nvacd.org/conservation-district-spotlight.

The Nevada Association of Conservation Districts (NvACD) honored Zion UMC for their work at their Annual Meeting in Las Vegas in November of 2016 and several members of the church attended our Awards banquet to receive their plaque and tell us about their project. I was fortunate to meet Charlie and other wonderful members of Zion at this meeting.

Charlie and I recognized each other in the lunch line of the 2019 North District meeting at Green Valley UMC and had a good time catching up. I had seen photos of the improvements to the garden and we celebrated those. I was sad about the fire in the sanctuary, but encouraged by Charlie’s spirit.

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) held their Annual Meeting in Las Vegas in February 2020. They request help from the state association for local contacts for people to sing the national anthem and bring a spiritual message to the Sunday morning gathering. It was natural to think of Zion UMC since they are so dynamic, I had heard their choir sing at a District event before, and they already had a relationship with NACD. As past president of NvACD, I made some contacts with the Zion folks, specifically talking to the assistant choir director.

One of the regular events of the meeting is the leadership and staff of NACD do a service project in the city where the meeting is being held. Zion was the natural choice again as they were working on a hoop house project with Teri Knight, the District Conservationist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. After many conversations, it was decided that the project would be to extend a walkway from the parking lot down the main path of the garden to connect to what was already there.

I arrived early to help on the Friday morning of the NACD meeting. Many members of the church were already there at work; Charlie had things well organized and a wonderful spirit pervaded the garden. I had so much fun meeting Zion members and helping them get set up so when the NACD bus appeared they got right to work. It was a beautiful day and we accomplished Charlie’s goals while we all had a fantastic time working together on this project. There are many photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/nacd/albums/72157713015916677.

Sunday morning I saw the Zion folks again when I arrived at the Sunday Inspirational Program. They were across the room from me and were excitedly preparing to sing. Guess what, there wasn’t a piano in the room as they expected! But they rose to the occasion and beautifully adapted their song in a moment. It was so inspiring and I was so proud that I was associated with them. Then the main choir director gave an incredible message to the people present. NACD is made up of people interested in conservation, agriculture and natural resources and they warmly received his message. There are many great photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/nacd/albums/72157713043007242.

Again on Monday morning Zion was there to sing the National Anthem at the Monday General Session. Another inspiring time! There are photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/nacd/albums/72157713059419367.

I am so grateful I was able to participate with the Zion folks; they inspire and humble me.

Maggie Orr – Caliente UMC

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