As Art Justice was grateful that he slept in a comfortable bed, he wondered how many children did not have the same luxury. He tossed and turned in bed many nights. He knew God was trying to get his attention.
"God would not let me put it down," he said. Justice could not forget the thought of building wooden bed frames for families who needed them. The idea came to him and other members of Central United Methodist Church in Florence, South Carolina, when they read about the beds ministry of United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. The Rev. Adam Hamilton, lead pastor, described it in his book Words from the Cross.
Justice learned that Harrison United Methodist Church in Pineville, North Carolina, had also been engaged in a beds ministry for two years. He visited the church and, under the direction of Bob Gourlay, Harrison's beds ministry leader, learned about bed making.
Justice, an attorney by profession, was ready to begin the ministry at Central. His clients overwhelmed him as they donated lumber. On Oct. 24, 2015, Justice and other church volunteers formed an assembly line and built 27 wooden bed frames. Central Church bought Tempur-Pedic® mattresses for a reasonable price, and the beds were ready for schoolchildren in the Florence school district.
The team packed the beds in November. Some families came to pick up the beds, and the rest were delivered to homes. Project supporters had asked the children receiving beds to name their favorite superheroes. Each child was delighted to find the bed frame and mattress accompanied by superhero sheets and pillowcases.
"Faith and church involvement is important to me," Justice said. "God has plans and sends you to do them."
Justice and the Central beds ministry team plan to make more beds for children in need. "I would like to make 35 beds next time," he said.
Originally published in Interpreter Magazine, March–April, 2016.