For the Community: Ohio Church Eases Pain at the Pump

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Great Lakes, Loving and Serving

By Kim Ousley

It is well-known that gas prices are keeping more folks closer to home and re-thinking their travel plans. Just getting to work and school weekly can wreck the budget, especially when the prices at the pump fluctuate daily. Thankfully, Harvest Point Church of God in Lordstown, Ohio, decided to do something about it.

On Saturday, September 23, the church collaborated with the owner of the Speed Check, to give drivers a 50-cent break per gallon. From noon to 3:00 in the afternoon, everyone that came to fill up the tank was blessed with a discount on their gasoline purchases. The church originally planned for a 40-cents-per-gallon deal, but the owner decided to chip in 10 cents on top of that. The owner of the gas station simply said he wanted to help, too.

“We had a budget of $400, or 1,000 gallons of gas,” said Pastor David Cross. “We tried this last year, but not much response. People may have thought it was a scam. But this year, it was during the Apple Cider Festival, and we received a huge response.”

Cross said they will probably continue to do this next year. He got the idea originally from another pastor, Rob McFarland, nearby. “He has done this for awhile in his community, as well.”

McFarland told him it is best to find an independently owned station, so one can work directly with the owner. If the gas station were a franchise, there would be restrictive rules that corporations would have to follow. But dealing with the owner personally makes it much easier. The pastor and another elder went down and spoke with the owner of the Speed Check and he was on board to do it.

The community that Harvest Point is surrounded by is a small-town, farming community. The members of the church love to plan something once per month to be involved with, to include those living around them.

In March, the church held a board-game night. Tables were set up with different board games and hot dogs and snacks were provided. “We also had an end of the year summer party with games, food, and face painting in August. Because of these events, we have gained a few new families attending our church.”

In November, their focus is on Operation Christmas Child and the boxes created to send to Samaritan’s Purse Organization. Every December, they have a live Nativity. All of this from a church that started in someone’s garage back in 2001.

It started in one of the parishioners’ garages. Back then, Cross says he preached the first two sermons in that very garage. Even though he moved on and preached elsewhere for about twenty years, he was called to fill an open position to become the pastor. He was happy to be a part of the church he saw start so many years ago. Over the years the church has rented other spaces, like a high school, a strip mall, and other buildings before building their own to continue to serve and gather as they share God’s message.

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Kim Ousley is a freelance writer from Anderson, Indiana.

Feature (top) photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash.

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