Almost four years of outreach and effort bear fruit this weekend when Church on the Rise opens its new campus in South Rocky Mount.
The site at 1725 Davis St. will house a worship and youth outreach centers and offer social support services such as a food pantry and family programs. The initial worship service there will be at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Lunch will be served starting at noon.
Work on the project started in 2008 when church elder Jesse Lewis and other members became involved in youth activities in the neighborhood, including offering a basketball tournament and vacation Bible school. Before long, the church was co-sponsoring cookouts and movie nights and becoming more involved with community leaders while still focusing on the youth.
It soon became clear to the church that a permanent program site was needed. After a search, the church bought the Davis Street building, which formerly housed Rod Door, a manufacturing company
At the same time, while the church also was looking for information to start a Freedom School program in South Rocky Mount, its members made contact with the Peacemakers group from Trinity Church in Miami. Based on what they learned about Peacemakers’ program, Church on the Rise will offer an after-school program based on the Freedom School concept at the new campus.
The program for first- through eight-graders runs from 3-6 p.m. weekdays starting Monday. It includes reading and homework tutoring, computer access and playtime. The fee is $50 per child per week.
In addition, the campus will house a Peacemakers Family Center, the first such site outside the group’s program in Miami. Its programs will include:
- Strengthening Families Program – This free family skills training program significantly reduces problem behaviors, delinquency and alcohol and drug abuse in children and improves social competencies and school performance. It runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays starting Monday and will be offered through the Nash County Department of Social Services.
- Children of Inmates – Using a network of faith-based and professional organizations, the free program strengthens the bond between children and their imprisoned parents and eases the trauma caused by the separation. Expected to start in the next four to six months, Lewis said, it mainly will run on weekends; details still are being decided.
“Children of incarcerated parents are six times more likely to go to prison,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to have intervention or a lot of these kids are going there.”
- A free food pantry will be held on weekends. Participants can choose distributions at 3 p.m. on the first and third or second and fourth Saturdays. Preregistration is required.
- A computer lab has been opened and will be staffed six days a week. Its hours are 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. The lab offers typical office software and Internet access and can be used for productivity or recreation.
The lab also will offer six-session training classes on popular applications Wednesdays and Thursdays starting next week. The first will be basic computing skills at 6 p.m. followed by Microsoft Word at 7 p.m. Future classes will include Microsoft’s Powerpoint and Excel. The cost is $20 per six-class session.
Church on the Rise’s work with the original Peacemakers group is ground breaking and earned the congregation praise from one of the group’s leaders. Seven other churches nationwide now have looked to the Miami-based ministry for help with their plans.
“Church on the Rise is the first one; they would be miles ahead,” said Linda Freeman, Peacemakers’ executive director. “These eight churches have a vision for their community, so what we’re partnering on is a method.”
For more information about Church on the Rise’s new campus or its programs, go to rockymountpeacemakers.org or call 972-7473.