Kendra Thompson, her husband, Rod, and her three sons describe themselves as “come here’s and stay here’s.” Originally from a small town in North Carolina, Kendra and her family have been living in the neighborhood for over 15 years. Her whole family has become involved with the neighborhood, and Kendra found her calling with the church’s community.
When Kendra and her family first moved to the neighborhood, Connor, her oldest son, was looking to make friends and find some familiar faces. Someone from his 2nd grade class attended Ebenezer United Methodist Church, so they decided to try it for themselves. Kendra knew it was the church they wanted to plant roots in when her youngest son Keaton got stuck in a chair during the sermon, and, rather than acting with judgment, the congregation was supportive and was able to kindly laugh about the situation afterwards.
Kendra taught at Ebenezer’s preschool for over four years and was heartbroken when it closed because it was like a family. She loves when Vacation Bible School comes along because she can see “the littles” again. This year’s VBS theme was superheroes, and Kendra had a great idea to market the camp in a new way. The theme of VBS had never been in the 4th of July parade before this year, and the float was a hit! A lot of volunteers lent their time and talents to VBS this year, and many people took on multiple roles. For example, her middle son Simon did the sound and media and also played the superhero for the kids. Keaton did the recreation and helped as a runner. Kendra has had the 3-5 year olds for the past couple of years and had one of Keaton’s friends volunteering as her assistant. She believes that it’s a great way for the youth to get involved and that VBS offers a lot of cool experiences for the kids like science and music classes.
Ebenezer offers coffee and snacks each Sunday, and Kendra loves contributing unique snacks that are holiday or seasonally themed. Her parfaits were a big hit as well as her “pink and Peeps” Easter tray. Kendra loves using Pinterest, and now that her boys are older, she can channel her passion for creating themed things into the church.
Kendra’s latest undertaking at the church is the Ladies’ Ministry: REAL Women (reaching out, encouraging each other, adoring God, learning together). It is a small committee that plans fellowship events. They hosted a tea party a few months ago that was a great success. Everyone wore hats, and some people brought their teapots. They did a quick Bible lesson, had a guest speaker, and had plenty of time for socializing. The women’s ages ranged from 13 to 80’s, and they are happy to be inclusive of such a broad group. They had a game night where everyone contributed a side dish, and they will be doing a craft night in August. September will not have an event because of how busy many people are with school coming back into session. They always welcome women from outside of the church if they are interested in attending an event. Kendra shared that they hope to expand and potentially take their events outside of the church to coffee shops or even a possible weekend trip. If you are interested in learning more about REAL Women, please contact Sheila Smith at the church’s main office.
Kendra reflects that the church really became a family for her, especially when Rod was deployed. They really stepped up for her and her sons, and they even took her out for Mother’s Day when Rod was gone. She and Rod met at a restaurant in Boone, North Carolina and shared a piece of carrot cake. Rod proposed at his Navy bootcamp graduation. They were married 358 days later when they were 19 years old and just celebrated 23 years of marriage. Kendra credits her friends, family, and God for helping her through the tough times. Rod was deployed 3 times in the first 5 years of Connor’s life, which was challenging, but Kendra wouldn’t change anything. In her words, “it’s been a fun ride.”
Rod did the house shopping on his own for their move to Eclipse, and the house he found was a lot of work. Lots of sweat and tears went into their fixer-upper, but they can’t imagine ever leaving. Their love for the neighborhood ties back to the strong and unique sense of community that they feel. When Keaton was a baby and Simon was a toddler, Kendra fell down the stairs and was bleeding profusely. Rod had to call 911, and they were worried because they did not have any friends or family nearby. The neighbors came to the rescue by offering to take care of the boys while Kendra was in the hospital. By the time Rod and Kendra returned home, the neighbors had brought food over and stocked the freezer. Kendra was knocked out by pain medication for two days, and the neighbors stopped by to bring over snacks for the boys. Eclipse is a special place where there is no hesitation to rally together when someone is in need.