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Churches reach out to students, teachers

GORDO, Ala. (BP)–Sixty elementary school students started the school year with backpacks full of school supplies in eastern Alabama thanks to members of First Baptist Church in Gordo.

It was the first year First Baptist has worked with the school, a mere two blocks away, but pastor David Singleton hopes it will become a tradition.

When the church focused on raising money for the school in June and July, they ended the summer with more than $2,000 — far exceeding their goal.

“We set the bar high, and we said we wanted to raise enough for 60 kids, but we actually got all 60 and had money left over,” Singleton said. “We’re trying to fulfill the Acts 1:8 mandate and fulfill the needs of our community.”

Now is an especially relevant time to start helping out, Singleton said.

“With all the economic issues, there have been a lot of cutbacks in the school system, and I’m just trying to keep my eyes open and ask our people to keep their eyes open for opportunities for us to minister, whether it’s for the school as a whole or for individual students,” the pastor said.

Baptists elsewhere in the state also are seeking to meet the needs of schools. Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham has focused on supporting Rocky Ridge Elementary School in Hoover, starting with the teachers and other staff members.

On Aug. 11, the church hosted a luncheon for the entire Rocky Ridge school staff. Even though the teachers were busy preparing for the students to arrive the next day, the event was a rousing success.

“It was a breath of fresh air in the midst of a tense time,” said Regina Howell, an instructional support teacher at Rocky Ridge and Lakeside member. “The teachers were overwhelmed and some were in tears about the thought and time that had gone into it. Our minister promised that the church would be praying for them each day, and that really made an impact.”

Lakeside presented Rocky Ridge with a $1,000 donation, as well as giving the staff members personalized gift bags and certificates for a free Wednesday night meal. One teacher cashed in her certificate the next night.

If all goes as planned, the luncheon was just the start of an ongoing relationship between the church and school, with Steve Taylor, Lakeside’s minister of Christian education, noting that Sunday School classes will be adopting various Rocky Ridge classes.

“They’ll have communication with the class as far as cards and different things throughout the year, and we’ll have the school calendar and will try to coincide with special dates.”

The church has undertaken the outreach, Howell noted, “to support the teachers and show the love of Jesus.”
Anna Swindle writes for The Alabama Baptist (thealabamabaptist.org), newsjournal of the Alabama Baptist Convention.

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  • Anna Swindle