Virginia Tinsley, head of the North Georgia Methodist Homeless Council has known Rev. Clara Lett, and her good work operating the Garden of Gethsemane Homeless and Transitional Housing Center in Newton County since 2001. Rev. Lett’s church and the Porter Memorial United Methodist Church in Porterdale worked together to support this ministry in Porterdale. It was moved to Covington after the Covington Housing Authority purchased three buildings at Turner Lake Circle in Covington in 2007.
This relationship and friendship throughout the years paid off this week when the North Georgia United Methodist Church gave the shelter in Covington more than an estimated $50,000 in chest of drawers, writing desks, night stands, commercial cookware, bedding items, sofas and chairs, steam tables, dining tables and lamps.
All this merchandise came from Simpsonwood Retreat Center in Norcross which is closing and the land has been purchased by Gwinnett County for a park.
The land for Simpsonwood was given to the United Methodist Church by Miss Ludie Simpson and family. Simpsonwood opened on June 19, 1985. Miss Simpson taught in the Atlanta an dGwinnett School System until the age of 70. She died on April 29, 1975 and is buried with her mother in Mount Carmel United Methodist Church cemetery in Norcross.
The board of directors of the Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter is very grateful to the North Georgia United Methodist Conference, the North Georgia Homeless Council and its chairperson, Virginia Tinsley, and to Beth Barnwell, chairman of the committee that helped distribute the merchandise for this wonderful gift.