Showing items filed under “Tom Rees”
On Saturday, April 12th, 2014, we sent nearly 1,700 volunteers across Columbus to help serve our city. In fact, we call this event, Serve Columbus.
“One of the things we try to do at Vineyard Columbus, is to be the best friend the city ever had,” says Kwesi Kambon, pastor of Men’s Ministry and Community Engagement.
“The Vineyard took on seven different neighborhoods and worked on what we call, a major corridor clean up,” according to Sherri Palmer of Keep Columbus Beautiful. “Coming out and cleaning up on streets that are major avenues into these neighborhoods was a big effort.” Robert Seed, also of Keep Columbus Beautiful is quick to add, “I know the people in those neighborhoods appreciate it. They saw your witness. We value a clean neighborhood and I know they do too.”
Another big component of Serve Columbus is coordinating with other organizations in our neighborhoods. “We had a community health fair at Columbus Collegiate Academy and at Rock of Faith Baptist Church, we established the very first community garden,” says Norman Brown of J. Jireh Ministries.
More importantly however than how many volunteers we had or how many gallons of paint we used, is the impact on our community. “What happened that day is that they made our campus beautiful, which said, ‘Welcome children. We want you here at Alpine, we think a lot of you here at Alpine,’” effuses Deborah Copeland of Alpine Elementary School.
When the cleanup is finished, the trash is collected, and the painting is completed, it’s important to remember what this event is about. Norman Brown sums it up perfectly, “It was an awesome experience to see black and white, young and old, come together as the body of Christ and we were able to work together in the unity of faith to show God’s glory to our community.”
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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 Rhodie Shreve 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 Debra Griffin or visit the Center online.
In the meantime, enjoy a few pictures and Merry Christmas!
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