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Variety of Projects Demonstrate West Virginia Church’s Love for God and Neighbor

 In All Church of God, Change the Story, CHOG, Northeast

By Michael Morehouse

At the start of the new school year, Landmark First Church of God in Princeton, West Virginia, continued their back-to-school outreach of distributing school supplies to local children. While their efforts have looked different over the past few years, the West Virginia church has established quite a track record of providing practical supplies for children in the community.

Back in the summer of 2018, the church hosted a community event called “Praise in the Park,” which involved giving out school supplies and hosting an event for the community to further connect with families in Princeton. While this event happened again in 2019, it had to be altered in 2020 because of COVID-19; last year they removed the community gathering component, and instead limited the event to a giveaway of supplies that had been collected by members of the church.

“Praise in the Park” and the school supply handout have just been one aspect of community outreach that Landmark First Church of God has done. The church, founded in 2005 by Pastor Scott Hodge, has had a vision of serving the community, according to Pastor Jeff Valentine, the current pastor of the church. A large part of the church’s outreach has been run by Christina Cartwright, who leads a women’s ministry called “Daughters of the King.” According to Pastor Jeff, it has been the “big focal point in the outreach services.” This has brought a chance to minister to women in the community, including the ministry involving Amy’s House of Hope, which is a place for women in need to go to for help.

While “Daughters of the King” has been around to care for women in the area, its ministry has also led to other mission opportunities for Landmark First Church of God and the members of the church. Through “Daughters of the King,” the church has been able to help out and partner with other organizations in the area. Some of these partnerships include helping get supplies for Catholic Charities in West Virginia that can be used to help those who are in need. The church also partners with Abel Pregnancy Resource Center, where they help donate funds to a ministry that helps counsel women who are seeking abortions. They also have a partnership with a ministry called Mary’s Cradle, which provides cribs and supplies for new parents that the church helps raise money.

In addition, the church has also helped out the community of Princeton by building benches at local parks and pulling weeds along the hiking trails. While this was not an opportunity to serve people face-to-face, it still provided an opportunity to serve the community in a different way and bring in the possibility of future opportunities, including connecting with other community resources outside of the schools and in other areas of the community.

Community movie night supplies ready to use!

This has been a similar story going back to “Praise in the Park” and the school supply giveaways, as those have opened the door for new opportunities to serve children outside of just the supply giveaways. Part of this has included adding a clothing closet that helps get clothes and hygiene products for children in need, which is something that can be done all year. The clothing closet, along with many of the other organizations the church has been working with, has been a way to help the community during a pandemic and is not reliant on large events or worries with spreading COVID-19.

Through these services, Landmark First Church of God has been able to work towards fulfilling the mission that Pastor Scott started back when he founded the church. While there are always new places to serve and people to connect with, Landmark has taken many steps into the community and continues to be a light to the people in Princeton and the rest of West Virginia. Because of the various ways the church has reached out to those in the community, they have opened the door to new opportunities to serve and help those in need in the future. With these opportunities, Landmark shows people the love of Jesus through their service and sacrifice to the community.

Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

Michael Morehouse is a junior from Mishawaka, Indiana, majoring in public relations and minoring in writing. Michael is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.

Feature (top) photo: Praise in the Park, hosted by Landmark First Church of God.

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