By Fred Koenig
Karla Geerlings hasn’t changed churches since she was a kid, but she has seen her church change. Wilkes Boulevard UMC has been very intentional recently about reaching out to the community it is in, so much so that the Missouri Conference categorizes the church with new church starts, calling it a re-start.
Much of the community around Wilkes Boulevard lives in poverty, and that is the community the church is trying to reach. Geerlings is part of that process. She directs the volunteer choir, is a member of the worship team, is church librarian, volunteers at Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen ministry, and leads small groups.
“Because I’m on the worship team, I have a hard time regularly participating in Sunday School, so I find that being active in small groups is important for my own faith development,” she said. “And sometimes if you want to be part of a small group, you’ve got to be willing to lead one.”
Geerlings adopted her children at a very young age. They are now 19 and 20, and are still an active part of the church. “We have a rule in the house, if you’re there at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, you’re going to church,” Geerlings said. “When friends of the kids stayed over at our house on Saturday night, they knew that Sunday morning they would be in church.”
Geerlings is a library information specialist at Ellis Library at the University of Missouri-Columbia. When asked how her church life carries over into the rest of her life, she refers to her church’s mission.
“One of our values is ‘We’re working on it’,” she said. “No one is perfect, but we can all work on being better people. We won’t obtain perfection, but we should be getting closer, not further away. I try to keep that in front of me all the time.”