Reverend Meredith Wilkins-Arnold Awarded This Year’s Father Maurice Alexander Award
Reverend Meredith Wilkins-Arnold is this year’s co-recipient for the 3rd Annual Father Maurice Alexander Community Service Award. She is being recognized for this honor along with Bob and Trudy Priddy of Solomons. This honor is bestowed on those individuals or organizations whose outreach has made the Solomons area a better and more welcoming and caring community.
Reverend Meredith is the popular Pastor of the Solomons Methodist Church where she has served her congregation for six years. Previously, she was a Pastor for her church in St. Mary’s County for more than 20 years. She was one of the first female Methodist Pastors in our sister county across the river. When there was a chance to take over this historical Solomons community, her family including husband Don and four children, jumped at this opportunity! They truly love their church and their congregation and their memberships loves them just as much.
Pastor Meredith hails from the Boston area where she received her Bachelor of Science from Boston University. She later moved to Philadelphia and studied at the Lutheran Theological Seminary and was awarded a Master of Divinity Degree. Along the way she also earned a degree in communications.
Upon assuming her new role in Solomons, the Reverend immediately rolled up her sleeves and became immersed in serving her “flock”. Her personal efforts saw a dramatic increase in the numbers of members attending services and participating in church activities. And she has worked well in coordinating efforts with Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, especially during the Christmas and Easter Holiday Seasons. At one point, she enrolled two of her children in the OLSS parochial school program.
Importantly, this amazing Pastor became involved in outreach programs to benefit the poor and needy in the local area. Recognizing there were as many as 65 truly hungry local school children, she began Project “HEARTFELT” – feeding empty little tummies! Her members worked with the public school staffs and determined there are many “at risk” children in nearby public schools. They put together a program to issue each needy child with a backpack full of food when they are sent home each weekend. Much of this food is gathered by volunteers within the congregation. She derives much support from the Solomons Business Association where the church is a standing member and she currently serves as Vice President. She previously helped raised a significant amount of funds as a “celebrity” bartender during the Solomons Christmas Walk Gala and was instrumental in raising needed funds during the Solomons Plein Air Arts Festival. She was amazed how these efforts rallied her whole flock and brought them together while doing the Lord’s work!
Other initiatives that have proved successful include “Operation Christmas Child” to fill small boxes of gifts to be given to needy kids here in Maryland and overseas as well. Their efforts played a small, but important need to help brighten the Christmases for poor children who had little hope of enjoying the holiday as we know it here. Another popular effort is conducted each Spring once the Christmas spirit begins to fade and the sending of packages to our military personnel slows down. Members collect batteries, DVDs, games, and T Shirts to mail to deployed troops known to the congregation in hopes of improving their morale during this lull.
Reverend Meredith’s inspirational leadership has had a positive effect on her members. This rather small group of Christians have shown an enormous willingness to give of themselves year round. It is obvious she has been able to tap the love that is in their hearts.
When not in her “pastor role”, Reverend Meredith has many regular chores involving her family that gives her the appearance of a basic “soccer mom”! She is actively engaged with each of her children in activities such as swimming, sailing, or even scouting. She is a Girl Scout Leader and serves on the Board of Directors for the Southern Maryland Swim League. She has also found time to serve as the Vice Chair of the St. Mary’s Commission on Women. Yet despite being involved in so many activities, she still can find time for herself and quietly read at least one book a week! But, she derives the most pleasure and satisfaction from seeing her own children respond to the Lord’s Gospel by volunteering to take care of the needy.
Reverend Meredith is a very beautiful person, both inside and out. She is a very giving and loving minister who has motivated her “flock” and many others in the community to make this a better world. She is most deserving of the presentation of this year’s Father Maurice Alexander Community Service Award.. It is easy to see the Lord’s work is alive and well in Solomons because of individuals such as herself and Bob and Trudy Priddy. Congratulations to each of you for jobs well done!
Dave Spigler resides in Lusby and has been a resident of Calvert County since 1979. He has been recognized many times for his years of community service. He received the “Calvert You Are Beautiful Award” for 2013 and recognized by the Knights of Columbus as the “Maryland Citizen of the Year” in 2011. He was a member of the HOGETTES, the Washington Redskins “Biggest Fans” for 22 years. If you know of an unsung citizen of Calvert County, please contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.