A Brief History of Open Hands
Open Hands began as a worshiping body of believers on March 11, 2013. As the second Monday of March 2017 arrives it seems like a good time to reflect on where we have been and share God’s dream about where we may be headed.
The roots of Open Hands run a bit further back than four years. In early 2012
a group of members from Bethany United Methodist Church completed a 32-
With our hearts turned toward our friends, we prayed about a way to have a weekly
meal and worship experience together. After much prayer and a season of seeking God’s
will, we asked Wesley Heights UMC to partner with us and serve as the host site for
Open Hands –the name we gave to the weekly meal, music, and message event. They opened
their doors to us. We met for the first time on March 11, 2013 with 14 people in
attendance (plus invited guests). From the very beginning, the hallmarks of Open
Hands have included: everyone is welcome; everyone matters; the world needs more
grace and less judgment. We practice these beliefs in our worship, our decision-
God led us to the Lexington Church of God, one of our current sites for the Monday night meal, music, and message. The people of the church graciously joined our effort and we became partners in ministry. The love of God tied us together in mission. We began meeting at LCOG in October of 2013. As we have met there we have seen attendance steadily grow on Monday nights, reaching a high of 257 for our Christmas 2015 celebration. Along with growth in attendance, we have also grown in the number of individuals and churches that have become part of the ministry team.
In December 2013 a Board of Directors was formed to advise this growing ministry.
We hired Bob Harmon to be our Open Hands Director, overseer of daily operations.
On January 27, 2014 we unofficially opened Mercy Station Matthew at 506-
In October 2016 we opened our second worship site at First Reformed United Church of Christ in Uptown Lexington. This has opened up new avenues where more people are serving and being served. Between the two sites were are averaging close to 200 people each week. The two sites have enabled us to have a more intimate worship.
In January 2018, we returned to Wesley Heights United Methodist Church where this all began to have a smaller, more intimate setting for our worship. With the second site uptown, we did not need the huge gymnasium setting at the Church of God any longer and this move brought us to a place that is more suited for our meal, music, and message service.
A new project that we have entered into is a partnership with Soul Food in Albemarle to help them create a Mercy Station model in Albemarle to serve the people in Stanly County. This is the next step in showing More Grace… Less Judgment to more of God’s children. We are excited as this ministry develops. They have obtained their building and will be opening within the next 60 days.
As you can see, so much has happened in this short amount of time. As we celebrate our young age we also appreciate the opportunity that is before us. God’s grace is laced through and among the lives of all the people of Davidson County. God desires an end to cycles of brokenness and despair that have haunted so many for so long. We believe that God is calling Open Hands to be a big part of the word of grace that he speaks to his beloved people. With that in mind we will continue to seek ways to expand opportunities for employment, increase the presence of Mercy Stations and worship sites, pray for new ways to help those in need, and give glory and honor to God in all that we do.
From early on, we have stuck to the motto of More Grace … Less Judgment. All of us have been fallen short but with the grace that God has available to us all we want to share that grace with those who are part of our community. We do not judge where any of us have been, but we celebrate the grace that is available to us.
Not one bit of this would be possible without the committed volunteers who give many hours to make Open Hands happen. Some assist with food service; some clean; some drive vans; some play in the band; some greet; some work in the clothing ministry; all are amazing in their love of Christ and neighbor. Beyond hearing the gospel call of sacrifice and servanthood, they are living it out through Open Hands of Davidson County. I salute all of our wonderful volunteers. It is an honor and a privilege to serve Christ alongside each of you.
Grace and Peace
|Grace Place & Soul Food|
|Loaves & Fishes Food Ministry|