Church groups work to beautify city
'Bless Petersburg' brings more than 400 volunteers to Petersburg
PETERSBURG - Groups from across the state descended on Petersburg last weekend in an effort to help beautify the city.
Bless Petersburg, a program put on by the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, brought together more than 400 volunteers to take part in several projects across the city, including one at A.P. Hill Elementary School. Churches from Colonial Heights, Ettrick and Powhatan came to help pitch in. Students from Grace and Hope Academy also joined in.
Because the SBC was holding its annual conference at The Heights Baptist Church in Chesterfield County just north of Colonial Heights, the SBC wanted to come up with a community project they could do as a part of the conference.
“The SBC has an annual meeting in the state, and this year it was being held at The Heights Baptist Church,” said Wes Rose, the missions and outreach pastor at the church. “As part of the conference, we always try to do a community project.”
In addition to painting A.P. Hill, the volunteers also did projects at the Care Center, the Tri-Cities Pregnancy Center, Regenesis and with the Petersburg Bureau of Police.
“This is the second year we’ve been a part of something like this,” said Ishmael Labiosa, director of communications for the SBC. “It was a complete group effort: over 24 total churches were a part of the it.”
of communications for the SBC. “It was a complete group effort: over 24 total churches were a part of the it.”
Tonya Grayson, a teacher at A.P. Hill, joined the volunteers as they repainted the school.
“They came in and painted the inside of A.P. Hill Elementary School, and also donated snacks and lunch for the teachers and students at the school,” she said.
Brad Russell, the team leader for mobilization of the SBC, said more than 24 churches from across the state sent people to volunteer. “This year we wanted to serve a community that we knew was going through a lot,” he said.
Russell added that the SBC is hoping to form partnerships with some of the organizations they teamed up with.
After spending the morning completing the projects, the volunteers put on a special block party for the community and the volunteers.
“There are some really good things going on, and I think the word needs to be spread,” said Grayson.