Heartsong United Methodist Church and Memphis Islamic Center celebrate at annual picnic


TOP PHOTO: Dr. Steve Stone and wife Mary cut Steve's "happy retirement" cake at annual picnic of Heartsong United Methodist Church and Memphis Islamic Center. BOTTOM PHOTOS: Members of the two congregations celebrate together. (Submitted photos)

Members of Heartsong United Methodist Church (UMC) in Cordova, Tennessee, celebrated with their neighbors at the Memphis Islamic Center for their annual spring picnic May 6.

Over 700 people from the two congregations honored the retirement of former Heartsong pastor, Rev. Steve Stone. He officially retired at the 2017 Memphis Annual Conference.

“It was an honor and a wonderful surprise,” Stone said. “But, I wasn’t surprised by the loving hospitality of my (Memphis Islamic Center) brothers and sisters. We treat each other like family.”

Current Heartsong UMC pastor Rev. Chris Eaves called the event a beautiful day of fellowship, with friendships created and strengthened.

For nearly 10 years, Heartsong UMC and the Memphis Islamic Center have partnered on community events. In addition to the spring picnic, Heartsong hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner, and sites alternate years to host a Sept. 11 blood drive.

“Since the spring of 2008 when [the Memphis Islamic Center] became our neighbors, we’ve all grown in friendship and trust,” Eaves said. “The unexpected nature of this relationship has helped us live out what it truly means to love your neighbor.”