Norfolk church receives gift to support Whistle Stop thrift shop
Monday, October 29, 2012 - 9:09 am

NORFOLK -- The First United Methodist Church recently received a leadership gift to support its outreach ministries.

The multi-year commitment by Melissa Wagner and her husband Brian Telford was provided in memory of her grandparents, Bob and Maree Wagner, who were long-term members of the church family and residents of Norfolk. The contribution is unrestricted and helped launch the thrift shop named The Wagner Whistle Stop.

“This gift is a perfect opportunity to celebrate my grandparents while supporting an organization and individuals that played such an integral role in their lives… as well as supporting the extraordinary volunteers who ensure program delivery and, most importantly, those who benefit from the UMC outreach programs today” said Melissa Wagner.

The Wagner Whistle Stop thrift shop is a new outreach ministry of the church. It has been running for about three months and has become an important part of ministry for the church to provide affordable clothing and household goods to the community.

“Many people in the community we serve do not have access to affordable clothing,” says Pastor Gregg Stierheim.

The thrift shop complements other missions of the church such as the Norfolk/Raymondville Food Pantry, held every third Saturday, and the once a month “donations only” community meal, held every second Friday.

Pastor Gregg sees a future for First United Methodist Church in Norfolk that includes reaching out to young people, providing home repair assistance, and economic development in the main business corridor.

The Wagner Whistle Stop, located in the church’s Norfolk parsonage at 11 W. Main St., is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The mission for the shop “to provide affordable, gently-used items that support an improved quality of life for all residents of our community” is fulfilled by dedicated volunteers and donations with 100% of the proceeds applied to the church’s Norfolk outreach ministries. For more information about United Methodist Church Norfolk, visit