For nearly nine months, our 5th Avenue Food Pantry operated in a temporary location, while a major renovation was underway. This past November, the building was reopened to serve our community.
I spent some time with Urban Ministries Pastor, Dan Franz, to learn how the renovated food pantry is doing and what the renovation has meant for those whom we serve. Dan was quick to point out that during the renovations, our prayer ministry and witness of the volunteers, never lagged in spite of difficulties or delays.
When the opening was nearly delayed, everyone working on the project pulled together. “We opened on Saturday, November 16 with a temporary permit as we got a few things finished up. Everyone working on this didn’t want to let the community down. We simply had to be open when promised we would.”
A big part of the renovation was to add new services to the 5th Avenue location. “We've got a barbershop now. Hair cuts cost money that some people just don’t have. Free hair cuts save people money and helps make them more presentable, especially when finding work," adds Dan. “The location also provides access to the Ohio Benefit Bank led by James McQueary. This helps connect people to free tax services in addition to state and federal aid. It's like social work in a box!”
As wonderful as the updates are at the 5th Avenue Pantry, it really is about Christ’s compassion for the poor that motivates everyone who serves at the pantry. “We’ve got wonderful people who love Jesus and want to serve Him. Buddy Edwards and his team working in the Homeless Ministry, really persevered through some trials before the renovation. Kelly Ewing and Ed Saraniero are doing a great job leading our Monday night church service at the pantry. Chris Blosser and his team also serve every week,” says Dan. “It’s like a small group.”
Lastly, I ask Dan what kind of comments has he heard about the renovated pantry. “People now come in and do a double take. They feel so valued and respected. They say things like, ‘The church did this for us? This is beautiful!’” Dan then adds, “This renovated pantry speaks a love language and it’s a love language of respect.”
If you have an interest in serving at the newly-renovated 5th Avenue Food Pantry, especially if you live in the Clintonville or Grandview Heights area, please email or call at (614)259-5441.
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As part of the Vineyard Community Center, our Early Childhood Center provides an environment where children are loved and nurtured by committed Christian teachers who serve families in our community.
Earlier this week, they held their annual Christmas Program that featured the Yuletide greetings from children aged three to five. Let’s just say, it was an energetic group cheered on many parents and grandparents alike who were certainly in the Christmas spirit!
If you have questions about our Early Childhood Center, feel free to contact .
In the meantime, enjoy a few pictures and Merry Christmas!
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One of the main goals for the Gospel of God sermon series was for all of us to gain a new passion for sharing the Gospel with others. But how do we rekindle a passion for sharing the Gospel? What does this look like in our busy lives?
These questions led to a discussion between Rich Nathan's research assistant, Matt Shetler, and Pastoral Coordinator for Worship/Arts, Noelle Shearer. "Matt came to me and said, 'We want something that people can be a part of, something to be a visual reminder for those who don't yet know Jesus.'” Noelle states, “The passage of John 15:5 kept coming as a reminder. It says that we cannot accomplish anything apart from the Holy Spirit and that fruit only comes from Him when we remain in Him.”
Using this scripture and its imagery as a starting point, Noelle wanted to find a visual reminder for us to pray for friends and family who do not yet know Jesus. “I knew that with this many people however, it couldn't be a painting," she adds. After much discussion and planning, Noelle and her team of volunteer artists settled on the concept of a mosaic.
The idea was to have people at each campus think of three people who don't know Jesus and write down their names. They would then pick a colored tile to represent these three people, come forward, and give it to the artists creating each mosaic. Noelle emphasizes, “Anything we can do to love the Lord with our heart and mind and soul, anything we can do with our whole body is life changing. Making an intellectual decision is good but adding a physical demonstration and coming forward is very powerful.”
On the weekend of September 7th & 8th, people prayed for their three people, selected a colored tile, and came forward with their tile for the mosaics. In the following weeks, Noelle and the other artists created the mosaics using the thousands of tiles presented by the congregation. “As I helped finished the mosaics, I prayed over these people and saw the names and ethnicities of these people. It was valuable to me personally,” says Noelle.
We would encourage you while seeing the completed mosaics, both here and during worship services, to continue praying for those who don’t yet know Jesus and that God would open their hearts to the Gospel of God.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
We would especially like to thank the artists who helped create the mosaics for each campus:
Cody Miller Kirsta Benedetti Jessica Schultek
Julie Ream Erin Roddy Janelle Dethloff
Laura Wallace Jeaneen Eckhardt
The Visual Sanctuary Community from Cooper Road who served as “Gatherers”
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