On the roads with Je­sus

Area churches band to­gether to fight lit­ter

The Covington News - - Sunday Living - By Michelle Kim

The roads of New­ton County got a lit­tle bit cleaner Satur­day morn­ing as 1,400 peo­ple from 15 dif­fer­ent churches turned out to pick up trash for the third an­nual “On the Roads with Je­sus” project.

Clus­ters of orange-shirted vol­un­teers could be seen on many ma­jor roads scat­tered through­out the county. Mem­bers of the 15 par­tic­i­pat­ing churches were ac­com­pa­nied by blue skies and fair weather as they gath­ered bags and bags of lit­ter and waste.

On Route 36 near Bethel Bara Mis­sion­ary Bap­tist Church, round, orange trash bags wait­ing to be picked up dot­ted the road­side as a crew of about seven peo­ple climbed through weeds and gul­lies. ``

Lil­lian Leggs pointed out the bagged trash was only a por­tion of what they found. “We’re leav­ing the heavy stuff,” she said.

“It makes you not want to throw any trash out,” said Michelle Mann, who joined Bethel Bara’s group be­cause her church wasn’t par­tic­i­pat­ing this year.

“It’s a lot of fun, and good ex­er­cise and good fel­low­ship,” said Eva Priscilla El­lis, who had worked up a sweat.

Dan Marineau, mu­sic di­rec­tor at the Church of the Good Shep­pard, which had a group of 15 or 16 vol­un­teers clean­ing Route 36 near McDon­ald’s, agreed with that sen­ti­ment. “We’re try­ing to keep the en­vi­ron­ment clean and have good fel­low­ship, too,” he said. “Work­ing to­gether brings that about.”

“It’s a good way to show the county we care,” said Eastridge Pas­tor Rob Raynor, who was spot­ted with a crew on U.S. High­way 278.

Many of the vol­un­teers par­tic­i­pated in the ef­fort as a fam­ily, with cou­ples, par­ents and chil­dren work­ing to­gether to clean the roads.

Lt. Bil­lWat­ter­son of the New­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice said deputies watch­ing over the vol­un­teers had is­sued fif­teen tick­ets to speed­ing mo­torists and were even able to re­cover a car that had been stolen out of Butts County when a vol­un­teer rec­og­nized it and called 911.

About 300 peo­ple gath­ered for the clos­ing cel­e­bra­tion at Sharp Sta­dium at noon, with mu­sic pro­vided by a team from the Church at Cov­ing­ton. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the par­tic­i­pat­ing churches of­fer­ing prayers on unity, the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, grat­i­tude, liv­ing a clean life, and be­ing the hands and feet of God. Eastridge As­so­ci­ate Pas­tor Greg Miller ended the day by ask­ing the vol­un­teers to pray for each other’s churches.

Or­ga­nizer Todd Teasley seemed sat­is­fied with this year’s event. “We did good,” he said. “Our par­tic­i­pa­tion was down from last year, but we still did good.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Good works: Hun­dreds of par­tic­i­pants from New­ton County area churches join to­gether in song at Sharp Sta­dium Satur­day af­ter­noon dur­ing a group prayer cer­e­mony to con­clude the Third An­nual “On the Roads with Je­sus” lit­ter pick-up. Be­low: Wil­lie Mag­gitt joins mem­bers of Church of the Good Shep­herd Epis­co­pal Church as they pick up lit­ter along the side of Ga. High­way 36 Satur­day morn­ing.

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