Volunteers Landscape Schools
The grounds at 19 schools in the Tri-Cities look better this morning than they did Friday thanks to volnteers from a church with members from throughout the region.
More than five hundred members of the Colonial Heights Baptist Church spent most of the day Saturday doing yard work at the schools, as their annual Chrestos Project.
Rose: We've got kindness.
The Reverend Wes Rose is the church's missions, college and singles pastor.
Rose: Trying to impact our community and show God's kindness, we wanted people to know that we were a church, that we're serving and out in the community and outside of the church building itself and not just staying behind the stained glass windows.
The church, now on Jeff Davis at Harrowgate Road, has about 3500 members; and schools were chosen that its members have children attending.
Rose: Those that are in Chesterfield County and Prince George and Hopewell, Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Dinwiddie.
Community service, he said, is a big part of Colonial Heights Baptist's mission and everyone was aware that money is tight for all public schools in Virginia during the current economic recession.
Rose: There was a thought as you looked at the cut-backs and the schools getting ready to start back, it was something that would be visible to the administration and to the students that they came through. And, by looking at some of the schools and where they were before Saturday and where they are now, it was a great need that most people really wouldn't even look at until you went through it and you saw how things had really gotten out of hand.
The work didn't cost the schools anything. The church paid for the mulch.
Rose: Some of the people that went actually have businesses and landscaping, so that not only did they bring their tools and their time, but their expertise in helping us do a professional job in a lot of these areas, a lot of these schools.
Rose noted that the number of people volunteering for Chrestos has grown each year.
Rose: Nothing as big as this one, but, we've done other type Chrestos events where we have walked up and down the Colonial Heights Boulevard and cleaned up the boulevard. We've served breakfasts and meals to many of the police departments and fire departments. During the peak of the gas prices we worked with the service station locally and brought the price down, so that we could sell it at a lower price just to be giving back to the community.
There's a popular hymn that says 'They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love,' and that's what was going on Saturday.
Rose: We have a director of outreach that works very closely with all of our local outreach; and then I do missions and so we kind of hand-in-hand try to impact not only our community, but our world. And, so we take an actual made (?) model where we're trying to be God's witnesses and out of Jerusalem and out of Judea and Sumaria and to the ends of the earth. So this is our Jerusalem, this tri-city and Chesterfield and surrounding counties.
Seeing church members in unexpected places, Rose feels, can be an eye opener.
Rose: Lot of times people would have, I guess a preconceived idea that you have a church and people go to church and that's their Sunday thing. So, when you get out of the church walls and you get down to the streets over here, people see that that's a little bit different. You don't see that in a lot of churches. One of the things that we wanted to be known for here--and we served in our community and they know us by what we're doing and the actions and we're sowing Christ's love in the area.
The possibilities of this kind of work began about three years ago as Colonial Heights Baptist began the move to its current location.
Rose: We brought a group of people up here when the cement and the concrete pad had been poured and people were looking at that and saying, 'Boy, that's going to be a big church, big church, big church.' And as a staff, a ministerial staff, we wanted to tell people this is a building, but, really this pad right here is a launching pad. It's a launching pad to affect our community and our world for Christ.