It Worked for Us
Jaylen Johnson had a big smile on his face as he ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. His pastor was honoring Jaylen and other honor roll students from Asbury Jessup United Methodist Church in Jessup, Maryland.
The evening was extra special for Jaylen, who was chosen to pick the restaurant as extra applause for his efforts. Life is not a walk in the park for the 10-year-old who has faced many challenges at a young age. Despite learning challenges, the death of his mother to cancer four years ago and the effects of his father being diagnosed with a brain tumor, this young man has made the Principal's Honor Roll every year since 2012. He lives with an aunt, who takes care of him. "It is all through God's grace," said the Rev. Gay Green-Carden, pastor.
Green-Carden embraced the idea of taking Jaylen and 19 other honor roll students out for dinner to celebrate their accomplishments.
Ten children and youth were active in the church when Green-Carden was appointed to Asbury seven years ago. Within the first year, their number grew to 30. Today more than 60 participate in the ministries at Asbury Jessup.
Green-Carden takes the students who make the honor roll each quarter to their favorite restaurants. Their parents are also excited that their pastor celebrates them.
Asbury Jessup also has a mime ministry, choir, dance, fun activities, camp, vacation Bible school and tutoring for the young people. The church is also in partnership with neighboring Guilford Elementary School, where members help pack lunches, give away backpacks and serve as huggers.
"I love being a kid," Green-Carden said. "Our congregation embraces young people and there is energy around this. We are kid-friendly," she said.
AT A GLANCE Asbury Jessup United Methodist Church | 10420 Guilford Road, Jessup, MD 20794 | 301-490-9295 | [email protected] | www.asburyjessupumc.org | Rev. Gay Green-Carden | Average attendance: 115 | Baltimore-Washington Conferencehr
Christine Kumar is a freelance writer and administrator for the Baltimore-Metropolitan District of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Send ideas for It Worked for Us stories to [email protected]