An Eternal Impact

Good morning, CFC family! We have always taken seriously the importance of being a welcoming church. While that plays out in many different ways, there is one thing that we have done for many years that we are changing up, and that’s the CFC Bread Ministry. As a result of the change, we want to highlight someone in particular.

The Bread Ministry at CFC operated for many years thanks to the contributions of a handful of very faithful volunteers. It served as a personal connection point where loaves of bread baked by members of CFC would be delivered to people who had visited the church for the first time. One member of CFC, in particular, was crucial to this ministry functioning, and he helped to welcome many visitors into the CFC family over the course of a couple decades – Bill Gilles. Bill truly has a servant’s heart and has dedicated his time and energy to many ministries at CFC over the years, and he continues to do so. Bill reflects the light of Christ through his positive attitude, the kindness and love that he radiates, and his willingness to tend to the needs of others. Though we have transitioned to a different way of welcoming those who are new to CFC for the time being, the effects of the Bread Ministry and Bill Gilles’ service to it have left an eternal impact. 

Bill took over much of the work of the Bread Ministry, particularly the deliveries to guests, after a lady named Lillian Weber who had started it was unable to continue. Bill and his wife, Shirley, made delivering bread to visitors a part of their Sunday worship. A handful of volunteers would bake the bread that Bill and Shirley would then deliver. Bill recalls that Val Fehd, for example, brought about 4 loaves of bread to church every week as part of her ministry for many, many years. Though Shirley passed away 15 years ago, Bill continued in his dedication of taking bread to an average of 2-3 households a week. On some Sundays, he could deliver as many as 10 loaves! Bill is not sure exactly how many loaves of bread he has delivered over the years, but it is likely somewhere around 3,000 or more. He still recalls the details of many deliveries, as well as the phone calls he made afterwards to those who received the bread. 

One story of a family that was impacted by the Bread Ministry is that of the Tawfiks. Many years ago, they visited CFC for the first time. They were looking for a church, and they felt God leading them to CFC, especially when the guest speaker that week was Imad Shehadeh from Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary who was a family friend. When Bill came to visit them and bring them a loaf of bread after that first visit, they felt it was confirmation that the Lord was leading them to make CFC their home church. That loaf of bread served as a representation of hospitality and welcome from CFC. Today, the Tawfiks are still a part of the CFC family, and they too have served in many areas over the years.

Bill had the opportunity to interact with people in our community of all different backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. He has an “inkling in his soul,” as he puts it, for this kind of service, and he loves to be around and interact with people. He enjoyed being able to talk to people who were first-time visitors to the church. Sometimes people would even invite Bill inside their home to speak with them. On the occasions when no one came to the door during a delivery, he would leave the bread on their doorstep then call to thank them for coming. He always left his phone number for people. Many people would call him back because it meant so much to them that someone would welcome them in this way. He said he still has people who text him about it.

Many people are spiritually hungry, and Bill felt this was an opportunity to engage with those people. He believed that friendliness and the personal touch of face-to-face conversation were so important. At first when Bill started serving in this ministry, he didn’t feel like he was that knowledgeable about the Lord, but through the years, he has grown in his understanding of Scripture and God’s love for us. Though some of these people already knew the Lord, many of them did not, and through conversations with them and the questions they asked, he was provided with many opportunities to share the Gospel.

Bill’s son had invited him to CFC before he knew the Lord, and because Bill was given the opportunity to hear the Gospel and grow in faith at CFC, he wanted to see others provided with this same opportunity. It was an encouragement for him to see the church growing and to meet all of these new people. 

There are certainly countless other stories out there of the impact that Bill has made through his deliveries and communications with guests over the years. If you know Bill, you know what a joy he is to all those around him. May he serve as an example of what it looks like to live a life fully devoted to serving others and honoring the Lord. 

We hope that this brief look at the impact of Bill and the Bread Ministry serves as an encouragement to you. Maybe there is a way that you can help serve in the body of Christ and share God’s love with others who may not know Him. You can stop by The Center, call the church office, or go to onlineCFC.com/Serve if you are looking for a way to use your time and talents for the glory of God. Specifically, you can choose some of the options under “First Impressions” that help to welcome new guests and connect them to CFC. One of those options is baking cookies for the first-time guest gift bags.

If you happen to see Bill around, please thank him for all the ways he serves our church family!  We hope you will join Bill and the rest of us this weekend for one of our weekend worship services!