Meet Petoskey's Corps Officers
Envoys Greg and Bethany Irwin hail from Traverse City, MI. They have three children and four grandchildren. Prior to joining The Salvation Army, Greg served for two years as pastor at Christ Community Church.
The Irwin’s have a calling to reach out to the “least of these” and a sincere yearning to be the hands and feet of Christ in our community. One particular scripture from 1 Thessalonians 2:8 is dear to their hearts and expresses their devotion to serving Christ through serving others.
“Because we love you so much, we are delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well because you have become so dear to us.”
This motto has been apparent since they joined The Salvation Army. They have put action to their words through avenues such as Friday night community dinners, nursing home services, community tea and watermelon parties, holiday assistance, recovery support dinners and many other events and services. Their particular passions encompass ministries such as Prison, Addiction Recovery, Children’s and Elder’s Ministries as well as Community Dinners which provide them with opportunities to show Christs love to those who are hurting.
The Irwin’s goal is to give hope to the hopeless by sharing God’s love in a genuine, authentic, tangible way so that they will come to know Christ as their Savior. They are fulfilling their goal through engaging and wrapping their arms around those who are often forgotten or largely ignored in our society and community. They are able to share that everyone is created in God’s image, has great value, and is loved by them and our Savior.
Greg and Bethany love our community. The main challenges they face here is creating awareness of the real need that exists amidst the beautiful scenic backdrop of Northern Michigan combined with the ability to reach out to everyone in such a vast rural service area where often the poor are far removed from the posh tourist areas existing within city limits.
Distance, combined with a lack of reliable transportation, is a significant struggle to those seeking assistance. It is a large hurdle to overcome, especially in Emmet County where there is no public transportation system. Greg Irwin says “We are constantly trying out new ideas to overcome this barrier and to better serve those that in the past have been disenfranchised and marginalized (sometimes simply because they live too far away). Out of sight, out of mind is a horrible place to be when you are poor, hungry and hurting”.
The Irwin’s believe “we are stronger together” and therefore, have been reaching out and spreading awareness through collaborating with other social service agencies and churches in our area to ensure that we’re reaching those who may otherwise fall through the cracks. They are also firm believers in putting words into action; reminding us that we shouldn’t wait for others to accomplish tasks; but instead be the first to take action to accomplish our goals. The Irwin’s are adept leaders through example, love engaging people in our community, are extremely compassionate and sincere about helping those in need and are an inspiration to many.