In 2016, First United Methodist Church of Sanford almost closed after 142 years. During 16 weeks of praying by a small, faithful group of long time Sanford community members, we came to understand that the story of this church wasn’t over. Small but determined, we committed to using our space and historical footprint to love and serve our Sanford community. In 2018, we celebrated all the good being done by local groups and nonprofits and sought to bless, affirm, support and encourage that good work in Sanford. Thus, the Neighborhood CoOp was born, a low cost, collaborative space for nonprofit and social enterprise groups seeking to do good in the city of Sanford. We also renovated classrooms, partnered with other faith communities and support groups, and sought to build a radically hospitable church where all (and we mean ALL!) are welcomed and loved.
In the last five years we’ve overcome near-closure, a pandemic, and even termites! But Hurricane Ian left a devastating mark on our campus and our hearts. The roof was irreparably damaged in the storm, causing water intrusion through light fixtures, historic artisan plaster, and ceiling panels. Paint is beginning to bubble, walls are beginning to peel and we’re still discovering all the damage that was done. After Ian blew water into one of our major air conditioning units, a small electrical fire happened between Ian and Nicole. We rushed to patch the roof wherever we could, but Hurricane Nicole only furthered the devastation.
We are heartbroken but we are also tenacious! We have seen what’s possible by the grace of God and the collaboration of a community. We know this will not be our last hurdle and we are sure that together we can overcome it.
Help us to save the roof and all the good it holds!