By George Archibald
Members of Apple Valley Baptist Church will hold a local service day in downtown Berryville on Saturday, March 26th.
Church members include area nurses, car mechanics, and others with a wide array of talent who will offer local residents health checks, window washing, free automobile service checks for single mothers or wives with husbands deployed in the military or business overseas, and shoe shines.
As a special gift, the church will conduct a “Gas Buy-Down” at the downtown Red Apple Exxon Station located at the corner of Main and Buckmarsh (U.S. Route 340) Streets.
From 8 a.m. until 12 noon those enjoying the festive event may purchase gas at a discounted rate and the church will pay the price difference up to the first 2,000 gallons sold.
“We just want to love Clarke County as the Lord has loved us — free and unconditionally,” said the Rev. Van Welton, senior pastor of Apple Valley Baptist.
“Clarke County residents welcomed our church into the community and we just want to say thank you.”
Church members also will form trash collection teams and volunteer to clean bathrooms in local homes as invited by welcoming residents.
Pastor Welton observed that Gallup and Barna public opinion polls show that most adults in the United States do not have much confidence in organized religion because many view evangelical Christians as focused only on themselves and always begging for money.
“Clearly the church has an image problem that should be addressed,” Pastor Welton said.
“Community Service days help combat negative stereotypes often associated with the church by allowing people to see the church in action.
“People desire more of a â€˜show-me’ thing than a â€˜tell-me’ thing. Most of us are tired of being told. We’re uninterested just in a message of words, but very interested in more meaningful messages of works and demonstrations.
“True compassion is something people cannot argue against,” the pastor said. “Communities see and experience the value of the church through works of service and compassion.”
Pastor Welton added: “I also desperately want to motivate Christians to participate in the church’s mission. I want them to experience what it feels like to bless others. Most will surprisingly discover that they receive more of a blessing when they minister to and help others.”
Apple Valley Baptist Church meets on Sunday at the D.G. Cooley Elementary School at 34 Westwood Road. Bible study for children and adults starts at 9 a.m. and church service start at 10 a.m.
For more information contact Pastor Van Welton at Apple Valley Baptist Church in Berryville, Virginia at 540.554.9681 or at BerryvillePreacher@gmail.com
George Archibald is a former reporter for the Washington Times. His book, “Journalism is War: Power Politics, Sexual Dalliance, and Corruption in the Nation’s Capitol” is available at the House of Light in Berryville.