Rev. Neil Dunnavant

Rev. Neil Dunnavant
Executive Pastor

Almost 30 years ago our church began a relationship with a Presbyterian congregation on the Navajo Reservation in Chinle, Arizona, on the rim of the Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

For several summers many of you drove or flew out there to help in many ways and build lasting friendships. Just the other day Nancy Coble let me know that she is still in touch with a Navajo couple there.

Because of the virus, the canyon is closed to visitors, and this couple earn their living making and selling their beautiful jewelry to tourists. They had to move out of their apartment and into a house the church built years ago that does not have water or electricity.


Wil Courter shared this photo of the FPC mission group at Chinle in the early ’90s.

Quiet acts

Along with some church funds, several members are pitching in. A large water tank has been purchased, and electricity will be installed soon.

This story reminds me of the literally thousands of ways First Presbyterian members are constantly helping their neighbors, often in very quiet ways that draw no attention to themselves. Nancy certainly did not ask me to write about this. She just wants to see these people have a more comfortable home.


Sharing inspiration

The Biblical wisdom is not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing and to give your gifts in secret so your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Sometimes because of our competitive spirit and desire to attract new members, we can become too concerned about making sure our congregational good deeds are recognized by our community.

There is a healthy balance of course, and sometimes attention and publicity can be inspirational to our city. And we all need more inspiration.


Humble and grateful

In the end, God sees it all, and if we are honest, we all know we can always do more and most of what we do could have been done better. Or sooner. Or longer. That keeps us humble.

Having said that, I want to thank you all for all the things you do to help the suffering, the lonely, the hungry, the poor, the prisoner, the hurricane victim, the victims of racial injustices and violence, the grieving, and the sick.

99% of these acts of kindness and generosity I will never know about, but I know they exist and I am inspired and grateful.