‘Persistent prompting’ leads to JustServe interfaith effort

Leaders of different religions in Lovell, Wyoming, come together on interfaith council

Around the same time that JustServe specialist Melanie Tew was hoping to find a way to get running in Lovell, Wyoming, a resident of the town — Darece Grant — was having a “persistent prompting” that she should learn more about it.

JustServe is an app and website that connects people to service projects by ZIP code. Organizations and community groups post their volunteer needs on the site.

Tew oversees JustServe efforts and communication for nine stakes in Wyoming and Montana. “I had a strong feeling that the Lovell Wyoming Stake needed JustServe,” she said. “This is the Lord’s work and I’ve seen His hand in this so many times.”

Meanwhile, Grant had reached out to find out more about how JustServe was working in Montana. Soon she was called to be the Lovell stake JustServe specialist.

The community around Lovell, Wyoming, is small and mainly made up of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But Grant knew that the JustServe efforts shouldn’t just be something the Church did.

“I heard about interfaith councils and thought it would be great for our community,” Grant said. “I have felt this drive to get something happening.”

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She reached out to different churches in the area and hearts began to soften as new connections were made. Eight other denominations were invited to join the bishops of the Latter-day Saint wards in Lovell on the new North Big Horn Interfaith Council

The council has now met twice, first at the Lutheran church to get to know each other and then to plan a service project for the 9/11 Day of Service. 

“One of the congregations — the Water of Life church — has been here two to three years and doesn’t have a church house to meet in, they are meeting at a gym,” Grant said. “One of the other church leaders suggested our service project could be doing work for them on their new building.” 

Volunteers the Lovell 2nd and 3rd wards work with members of another religious denomination at the Water of Life Church in Cowley, Wyoming, on Sept. 14, 2022. The JustServe project came about with the help of a new interfaith council in the area. | Darece Grant

Volunteers from different faiths gathered and worked side by side on two different days to sand, sweep, put up sheetrock and do whatever else was needed. Another congregation brought food for the workers. 

“We haven’t had huge groups but the little moments of being together has helped,” Grant said.

This led to new opportunities — Grant said two other denominations came to her ward harvest dinner and they are invited to the upcoming Christmas party. In this way, they are breaking down the walls between their members and coming together. 

In the meantime, the JustServe efforts are growing in the area with new projects listed on the site. And another interfaith council meeting is scheduled at the Methodist church. Grant said it feels like baby steps but she sees the relationships growing and feels the community becoming more unified. 

“I’ve had different community members say, ‘I heard about this thing you started.’ I don’t want to take credit for it, but people are grateful that it’s started,” Grant said.

Tew said that’s the power of JustServe and of following promptings. 

“I see JustServe as here to bring Heavenly Father’s children together in unity and love,” Tew said. “This is the Lord’s work. You really see His hand in it.” 

Volunteers from the Lovell 2nd Ward work with a member of a different church to hang sheetrock at the Water of Life Church in Cowley, Wyoming, on Sept. 14, 2022. | Darece Grant
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