USA: How a church turned into a farm
Michael Spurlock and his wife Aimee firmly believe in the power of prayer and stepping out in faith – even when it doesn’t make sense.
In 2007, the Spurlocks were assigned to All Saints’ Episcopal Church, a struggling church in Smyrna, Tennessee with just a few dozen members and a devastating amount of debt. “I was just out of seminary – I’d never been the pastor of a church before,” Michael told The Gospel Herald during an interview. “I had no idea what I was doing. We were sent down to see what should happen; should we close the church? Should we sell the property? Could we make a go of it? That’s when everything began.”
‘We were on the verge of closing down when the refugees came’
The church was on the verge of closing when a group of Karen refugees forced out of Myanmar unexpectedly joined them. With little resources, growing financial issues, and a language barrier, the congregation was unsure of how to minister to the group’s physical and spiritual needs. “When the refugees showed up, we just turned a radical corner in the life of the parish,” Michael said.
Faced with closure, Michael came up with an unusual solution: he decided to start a farm on church property. However, as they didn’t receive the support of their church officials, the Spurlocks were forced to rely on faith. “Oftentimes, I just didn’t feel equipped to handle the enormity of the problems facing the church,” admitted Michael. “But, God sustained me and saw me through it. He encouraged me when I would get discouraged.”