By Portia Williams
There is a new area in the east end of Portsmouth where people can find peace and tranquility. The congregation of 7th Street Christian Baptist Church transformed the lot which used to house Wilson Elementary School into a shelter house. The shelter house is intended to be a place of refuge for the community.
Lisa Crawford, Pastor of 7th Street Christian Baptist Church, said their purpose of purchasing the lot was to accommodate the community.
“The reason that we purchased it was to build a church there. Our church is older, and to accommodate more people, we wanted to purchase that down there. We wanted to try to uplift and help the community too, and to let them know that God loves them,” Crawford said.
She said God provided the needed funds to purchase the lot, and homes that were located on it.
“We purchased the lot where the school was, when the city of Portsmouth sold it, and then one by one God allowed us to buy the houses that were still left on it,” she said. “Then, with the help of God we were able to get the money to tear those houses down and so that now we have that whole lot.”
They built an altar on the lot as a place of refuge for those who pass by.
“The first thing that we did when we bought the property was to build an altar so that anyone passing by could stop there and have a place of peace and solitude,” she said. “We have scriptures up on the wall that they can read why they sit and rest. Then, the second step was the shelter house, which would serve as a shelter for those that are troubled, and during the storms they can come and find a peaceful place of refuge.”
The dedication was held Sunday, June 28 for the shelter house.
“We dedicated it on Sunday, and just prayed that when people come under it’s shelter that they will feel the presence of God there,” she said. “Our church has tried to reach out to the community, we’ve had clothing give-always, hot dog cookouts, and things such as that, and invited the community.”
She said many people in the community came to the dedication to show their support.
“When we had the dedication on Sunday the community came out. I know that many times, what people have to say about the east end are negative things, but we know that Christ can turn that community around, and we are seeing that change little by little,” she said. “There are a lot of hard working people down there, good people, and lot of them have begun to come to our church. We are just trying to reach them, and to let them know that there is hope, and that hope is in God.”
In addition to the shelter house, 7th Street Christian Church is planning to build a playground, purchase buses, and build a new church building.
“We want to build a playground on the property too,” she said. “We are not a rich church by any means, and so we wait until God provides the funds. We are praying that those funds will come in. So, we do want to build a playground, purchase some buses, and we want to build a church, that is going to be one of our next steps.”
Crawford said they want to do some work on their church building which is located at 620 Broadway Street in Portsmouth.
“The church where we pleasantly are, we are wanting to do a face lift on it, so we want to get it painted and some things done to it to brighten that area up, but then we will go back to the buses, and then build the playground, and then try for the church as God provides the funds,” she said.
What first appears to be impossible, becomes possible through God.
“Sometimes things seem impossible, and by ourselves they are, but with God all things are possible,” she said. “I do believe that the completion of the shelter house project has drawn our congregation closer together, and I do believe that it has drawn the community closer too. They realize that what we are trying to do are good things for them.”
Pastor Crawford said financial contributions were made for the shelter house by the purchasing of bricks.
“There were businesses and people that supported the shelter house project by purchasing bricks,” she said. “All of the contributions helped to make it possible, and we deeply appreciate those who purchased the bricks.”
For future events at the at the shelter house, signs will be posting there on the property, or by visit the 7th Street Christian Baptist Church website at: www 7thstreetchristianbaptistchurch.com, or the 7th Street Christian Baptist Church Facebook page.
7th Street Christian Baptist Church holds services at the following times:
Sunday School at Sundays at 9:30 a.m., Morning Worship at 10:30 a.m., Sunday Evening Service at 6 p.m., Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.
“We do have a youth ministry, and it will start back up again on the first Wednesday in August at 7 p.m. Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. we have youth services in the fellowship hall,” she said.
She said that everyone is invited to come out and worship with them during any and all of their services.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.