At "Residents 4 Arkansas" our mission is to help improve the rural and metropolitan communities of Arkansas by working with individuals in neighborhoods to solve their problems. Our primary goal is to give residents a loud voice by assessing the needs of individuals and families young and old alike, thus giving them the tools to work for REAL improvement!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The Humble Mission of: "Old St. Paul"
From your friends at: "Residents 4 Arkansas"
When one speaks of a church, what images immediately spring into your mind? Is it perhaps the building, maybe the fellowship, the enjoyable music, or the compassion of the minister himself? For countless families that live in the south, church holds a special meaning for them, for others still church holds no real value. Some people view it as a place where people go to ONLY socialize and interact, and beyond that those individuals really give it no added thought. The purpose of this article is to examine the role of the church within our present day communities, primarily dealing with ways that they’re attempting to aid families during times of need. This article is NOT meant to particularly endorse one denomination over the other, nor is it meant to tell you the reader directly that you need to go to church. With that being said, we’re going to take an investigative look at one West Memphis congregation in particular, and discuss some of the things which are being doing to improve the lives of families in West Memphis. We would like to thank Pastor Anthony, of Old St. Paul Baptist Church for his gracious hospitality. With that being said, let us get right to the heart of the subject. We’ll do this, by briefly touching on the history of Old. St. Paul.
The Old St. Paul Baptist Church is indeed steeped in rich history and has maintained very strong roots within the city of West Memphis. It was formerly located one block west of South 8th St, across the Missouri-Railroad track, and was organized as a place of worship in mid 1905. For those of you who keep track of time, this means that Old. St. Paul has been around for well over 100 years in the Northeast Arkansas area. This means that they have also been through two World Wars, and research shows, they played a pivotal role in the advancement of “Civil Rights” in the Arkansas Delta. In later years, the church itself has seen a tremendous amount of growth, now boasting a regular attendance of over 500 local residents on any given Sunday. As a result they have added numerous classrooms and air conditioning units to the building, and have thus been able to expand their various outreach services into the neighboring community. They also became the first home for the West Memphis Head start Program, and are regarded to this day, as the “Mother Church” of all traditionally Black Baptist Churches within Northeast Arkansas. We will now take a few moments to talk about some of the numerous community programs that they participate in and run on a regular basis. These community programs or “ministries” are the frontline of defense in battling many of the complex problems that exist in West Memphis even today. Now let’s take a look at a few of these “ministries” in even greater detail. The following information can of course be found on their website at: www.oldsatpaul.org
The Horticultural Ministry is a special outreach program designed to provide lawn care for the elderly and physically disabled all across the city. It provides summer employment for the youth of the church and instills in them responsibility, a feeling of pride, and above all else it teaches them a valuable lesson in the numerous benefits of Christian based community service. * How many of you would agree that this is a GREAT thing, something which could be done by residents who do not even attend a particular church?
The second outreach program which we’ll discuss is the; Ministry of GRACE. This program is designed for the person who has mothered or fathered a child outside the traditional institution of marriage. It’s designed to instruct young parents of their duties as commanded by GOD. This is not a ministry of condemnation, but instead a program that seeks to aid young parents in the appropriate way to care for children that might otherwise be totally neglected. How many times have we heard the horror story about some teen mother or father throwing their child in a dumpster? The better question is, how many lives has this very program saved, and how many lives would be saved if other institutions followed suit?
Last, but not least, we shall talk about the Kitchen Committee of Old St. Paul. This is a ministry of service offered to the congregation, as well as to the COMMUNITY. They serve the community by providing food for funerals, programs and special events. They also serve the community throughout their efforts in accommodating the World Changers, Vacation Bible School, S. L. Henry Outreach, Thanksgiving Dinner, and Community Fellowship Dinners. * It should also be noted that Old. St. Paul also partners with local and statewide nonprofit agencies as well. There overall goal is to strengthen the communities of West Memphis with love and kind actions.
Personally, I enjoyed attending services with the congregation this past Sunday, and I found it to be a great experience. I especially felt the warmth of each and every person whom I talked with, and was made to feel right at home. However you may view religion, we just ask that you keep an open mind, and we do hope that this article has served to make you even more aware of the many great things happening within our city on a daily basis. If you have had an unpleasant experience with organized religion in the past, we encourage you to take a closer look at just what all is being done within some churches today, and rest assured that you will be made to feel right at home with Old. St. Paul. May they continue to keep up the great work for many more years to come.
With Humble Regards
Residents 4 Arkansas Inc.
Empowering Arkansas Communities Through Positive Actions!