Gifts to Our Community: Fourth Avenue Methodist Church
An open door is welcoming, and acceptance is exactly what the Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church on West St. Catherine Street is offering with its “open door ministry.” This church’s small congregation has created a safe and inclusive sanctuary within their church walls, and their commitment to meeting the needs of the community keeps their door open wide, providing lunches and other kindnesses such as free dental and medical exams.
“United Methodist’s policy has always been one of ‘an open door, an open heart, and an open mind,’” says Carrie Farris, church member and Open Door Kitchen volunteer. The church is living up to this core belief by choosing to open its space and partner with other healing groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, to help people in their journey to recovery.
Along with providing a meeting location for other organizations, the church’s own ministry is devoted to a three–tiered program of service. Staffed by church volunteers, its kitchen provides 150 home-cooked meals, five days a week. Its free dental clinic is an extension of the Louisville Dental Society and works with anyone who requires dental care. There’s also a free monthly medical service that utilizes the help of doctors and nurse practitioners. “It’s more than just providing a hot meal,” Carrie says. “We want to make a difference.”
For church members, it’s about being available to those who would ask for help. Carrie says, “Due to suburban movement, we only have a membership of 80 churchgoers. There’s been talk of closing our doors, but that would place a huge hardship on the community we serve.” Carrie says the church plans to be of service as long as there’s a need. “We’re here to give hope where hope is needed,” with doors wide open.