Waynesboro Grace church in southern Pennsylvania is creatively living out their mission and vision through serving their community and building relationships. One way they are seeking to do this is through ministering to families with young kids in their community.
In addition to hosting their first Creative Kidz Camp as an alternative to the traditional Vacation Bible School last summer, the church has been partnering with a local elementary school for many years.
What began as the church providing two bikes for a year-end giveaway for the school in 2015 has grown into an ongoing relationship with the school that provides the church many opportunities to meet needs and bless their local community.
In 2018 the school counselor invited Waynesboro Grace Lead Pastor Timothy Clothier to bring a group of men from the church to spend time with students who did not have a positive male figure in their lives. Timothy has continued this relationship-building ministry, and this school year he is ministering alongside another local pastor.
Anther way the church has partnered with the school is helping with all-school events. Last year they provided food and giveaways for the school’s Spring Fling. Grace Kidz Director Jess Veen said, “This was an evening where students showcased their musical talents, families did STEM activities, and shopped at the Book Fair. We served over 900 meals and had countless conversations.” They were able to invite kids to their Creative Kidz Camp taking place later that summer, and dozens of the students came. “It was such a neat time of serving our town as part of our mission to glorify God by being disciple-making disciples through Christ centered witness,” Jess said.
Before the start of this school year, 100 volunteers from Waynesboro Grace spent a Sunday morning assisting the school with beautification projects. They made room signs, built benches, and rehabilitated the interior courtyard with fresh paint, weeded and mulched flower beds, built raised planters, and created gathering spaces.
Following that event Waynesboro Schools Superintendent Rita Sterner-Hine said in a local news outlet, “We are extremely grateful for this gift of time and hard work to improve our school. We are even more grateful for this partnership for our community. The future potential is truly limitless as we work together for our kids and community.”
This past December Waynesboro Grace purchased Christmas gifts for almost 30 students at the school. “We hadn’t even considered partnering with the school for a Christmas project until the Lord closed one door only to open wide another opportunity for ministry at this local school,” said Lead Pastor Timothy Clothier. “I am humbled by the relationships that we have built within our local school system. The students who attend these schools are the same kiddos who live in the streets surrounding our church building. Serving the school in practical and creative ways is a deliberate expression of our desire to obey the great commission. To God be the glory,” Timothy said.
Timothy and his team continue to explore new possibilities with the school all while continuing what they have been doing. In May, they will give away more bikes and serve more food at the Spring Fling as well as serve onsite during another Sunday this coming August.