LONG LASTING IMPACT OF A BASEBALL FIELD
We are thankful for a God who is able to find ways to bring hope and redemption even to our times of deepest sorrow.
On September 11, 2005, a young man from the Grayson community was killed in an automobile accident. As the family reeled from that tragic loss, a member of the Grayson United Methodist Church was considering a gift to the church. This church member told our former pastor that he wanted to give enough money for the church to have a baseball field.
The church already owned the land and a new ball field was part of our Dream Plan. Even though we had all thought it would be a good idea to build a field, we didn't have the funding in our budget to do it until this member stepped up to the plate. This family gave the church a gift of $50,000. He told the former pastor that he had learned a lot about himself and how to lead on the ball fields of his youth. He wanted other young people to have that same chance, and at the same time to grow their faith through recreation ministry.
The former pastor suggested we name the field after the donor's aging father. The generous giver said, 'No, no, I want you to name it for a young man from this community. Several weeks ago, we held funeral services at the church for a young man and I think it would help his family for the field to be named in his memory. This young man, who died in that tragic vehicle accident, had been the quarterback for the local high school football team. He was the type who, without others knowing, would play hurt in order to fulfill his obligation to lead his team. The pastor told the young man's family and those gathered at his funeral that from then on, they would have to 'play hurt' as they lived with the loss of this young man.
His name was Ryan Pilgrim. Most any day or evening, you can see young people playing on Pilgrim Field - Could there be a more appropriate name for a church ball field?
A caring giver showed us how generosity can go far beyond a monetary gift." This giver used his capacity for more!” This simple gift has enabled GUMC to establish and grow a Recreation Ministry which is building in young people a solid sense of Christian fellowship and sportsmanship on the football, soccer, and baseball fields. Hundreds of children have enjoyed their time on Pilgrim Field and perhaps thousands will plant their feet on this baseball field in the years to come.
This story is based on an excerpt from the book The Capacity for More, Enter Into the Joy of the Lord which Rev. Schroeder, one of our former pastors co-authored (2014, Stewardship Journey).