A teenager approached Scotty Brewer after a Bible study at a Raleigh apartment complex many years ago and confessed to Brewer that he was heavily involved in a gang. After learning about God’s commandment to only have one God while reading the Bible, the teen had realized that he needed to leave the gang and change his ways.
With the help of Brewer and volunteers with Mission Raleigh, a ministry of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, the boy got his life back on track and is now living in New Jersey while raising his own children, holding a job and regularly attending church.
During the past 18 years, the church’s volunteers have spent many evenings in low-income apartment complexes across Raleigh offering youth activities, helping elementary students with their homework and leading adult Bible Studies. The ministry serves five communities with organized activities three to four times a week along with impromptu visits just to hang out and chat with residents.
“What we’ve found is that helping people get their lives on the right track is all about relationships. And you form those relationships by helping to meet the needs of their community,” Brewer said.
Volunteers from the church also stock a food pantry, set up a computer lab for kids to print school work or adults to apply for jobs, and bring Christmas presents during the holidays. All of the activities take place in the community because most residents don’t have cars and rely on public transportation. Several residents have even started their own churches that meet on Sunday morning in their community thanks to the influence of the Mount Vernon Baptist Church volunteers.
“We feel that Christ made it very clear that we were to reach everyone. We don’t just want to reach people who look like us or who live near us,” Brewer said. “We want to carry the Gospel to everyone and consider it a great honor to serve these communities.”
The church currently has a waiting list of 10 apartment complexes who would like to be a part of the program, but the ministry does not have enough volunteers to expand. In addition to individual volunteers, Mount Vernon Baptist Church is looking for churches interested in adopting a community.
“There is a need in our area, and we would like to help other churches get started by either working alongside us, starting a new community or taking over a community we are currently working in,” Brewer said.
For more information, contact Scotty Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-847-0160.
Edenton Street UMC Chancel Choir concert
The Chancel Choir of Edenton Street United Methodist Church will perform “Southern Harmony: Celtic Origins of Southern Folk Hymns” at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, in the sanctuary at the church, 228 W. Edenton St., Raleigh. Southwind, a Raleigh Celtic trio, will also perform. The show will include hymn favorites such as Amazing Grace, What Wondrous Love Is This, I Will Arise and Go to Jesus. For more information, call 919-832-7535 or visit www.esumc.org.
Yard sale, Brunswick stew
Hayes Barton United Methodist Church is holding an indoor yard sale from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 20, at 2209 Fairview Road, Raleigh. For a $5 donation, shoppers can get a 15-minute head start. For $3, shoppers can “stuff a bag” starting at 11:30 a.m. Brunswick stew will be served at 4 p.m. with proceeds benefiting youth missions. For more information, visit www.hbumc.org or call 919-832-6435.
St. Mark’s Episcopal book sale
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church will be selling more than 5,000 gently used books from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Community Life Center at the church, 1725 N. New Hope Road, Raleigh. Most books will be priced at $1 to $2, including bestsellers, books for children, nonfiction, mysteries, cookbooks, classics and books on faith and spirituality. For more information, call 919-231-6767 or visit www.stmarks-ral.org.
Windborne UMC fall festival
The community is invited to a fall festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Windborne United Methodist Church, 9121 Six Forks Road, Raleigh. Festivities will include free food, bounce houses, games and local music. For more information, call 919-386-0212 or visit www.windborneumc.org.
Special-needs worship service
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is holding its monthly Shine worship service at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the church, 7000 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh. The service is designed for special-needs adults and children and their families. This month’s service will focus on the parable of the mustard seed. For more information, call 919-848-1573 or visit email@example.com.
Advent prayer cloth workshop
Felt artist Rachel Nicholson will lead a four-week workshop on advent prayer cloths beginning Tuesday, Oct. 23, or Wednesday, Oct. 24, in the Fellowship Hall at West Raleigh Presbyterian, 27 Horne St., Raleigh. Classes are offered Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. or Wednesday 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Each participant will take home their own prayer cloth. The $6 class is limited to 20 participants. For more information or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soapstone UMC barbecue
Soapstone UMC is serving barbecue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at the church, 12837 Norwood Road, Raleigh. During lunch, only pickup will be available; outdoor seating will be provided during the dinner hour. Free delivery is available for pre-orders of 10 or more items within 10 miles of the church. Plates are $9 and include pork or chicken along with green beans, corn on the cob, potatoes and a roll. A 1-pound container of barbecue or two pieces of chicken are $7. During dinner, desserts will be available for purchase. From 5 to 7 p.m., outdoor games and a bounce house will be set up for families to enjoy. All proceeds go to the Soapstone Mission projects. For more information, call 919-846-2212 or visit www.soapstoneumc.org.
Winter Warmth Drive
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd’s youth group is collecting warmth items to distribute to guests of Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen. New hats, tubes of lip balm, body spray, gloves, bottles of lotion, baby powder, socks, tissue, hand sanitizer, scarves, deodorant and monetary donations will be accepted. Items may be dropped off through Monday, Oct. 29, at the church office, 121 Hillsborough St., Raleigh. For more information, email Michelle Bullock at email@example.com.
Fourth Saturday breakfast Book Club
Unity Church of Raleigh is kicking off a monthly breakfast book club from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 27, at the church, 11101 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh. The first book will be “Christian Healing” by Charles Fillmore. Books will be for sale at the first class for $14.95 with a 10 percent discount for attendees. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.unitychurchofraleigh.org.
Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at email@example.com.