The United Methodist Men’s group of Signal Mountain United Methodist Church hosted a program of “Angel Food” distribution for four years, making available once a month a food order of low-cost staple items to persons who paid the low cost. The men also placed orders for low-income families in the community who could not afford the cost themselves.
During a period of three years, the Rev. J.N. Howard often took an order to a very low-income family and while there, shared conversation on Christian faith and invited them to worship. The couple, in their 60s, had never professed Christian faith, but began to visit worship services occasionally.
In August 2012, they had a house fire which burned out a corner of the house while smoke and water damage from fire rescue destroyed the entire interior of the house.
Shortly after the fire the men of Signal Mountain United Methodist Church decided they would restore the house and asked the church council/board for financial support for cost of materials.
They contacted Signal Mountain Social Services to tell them their plans and asked if other help might be available. Excited to have a crew of men ready to work, Social Services secured a grant from the state to pay a lot of the cost.
The men went to work quickly to take out ruined sheet rock, insulation, and flooring, totally gutting the old interior. Shortly they were joined by some other men from Signal Crest United Methodist Church, the other United Methodist church on the mountain.
In addition, some neighbors, who had usually passed them by, offered help with temporary needs for living in the small trailer pulled up in front of the house. Then the workers restored the interior and added porches and a functioning well. There was a well at the house which was out of order, so that, for 12 years, the family had carried their water in from other sources. The workers pulled out the old well pump and installed a new one so the family could have running water for the first time in 12 years.
Someone who was installing new kitchen cabinets in their home donated an excellent set of knotty pine cabinets which one of the men restructured to fit the kitchen area and social services secured new kitchen appliances. The women of Signal Mountain United Methodist Church collected food and cleaning supplies for a “pounding” when the house was ready.
During the weeks of labor, the husband of the burned-out couple worked diligently every day and became personal friends with several of the church men. He and his wife began attending church every Sunday and on one Sunday when the invitation was given at the close of the service, the couple came forward to profess faith in Christ and join the church. They now invite family and friends to come with them. They spent their first night in their totally renewed house on Christmas Eve.