Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Every summer the youth mission group at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Portsmouth volunteers on projects in other cities and communities. This year the group decided they could help out at home also, and — among other projects — helped restore a piece of church history.
Cornerstone Youth Director Doug Shugert said the church has done mission trips for about 10 years. He said the trips offer kids a valuable experience of getting away from home to see the needs of different people, but there also are people right here at home in need.
“We did a couple where we went to Tennessee, and we realized we were going away and other people were coming here to actually do work. So we thought that it would be a great idea for us to stay here and help the community that we actually live in and are actually a part of,” Shugert said.
When Jim Climer heard they were going to volunteer at home this year, he suggested they could clean and re-install an old stained-glass window in the church. The window was part of the former Wesley United Methodist, where it had hung on the Gallia Street side for nearly 100 years until the church was torn down in 2004. It wasn’t the only window saved from the old church, Climer said, but it was the last one waiting to be installed at the new Cornerstone Church.
“I thought it was an excellent thing that the kids could actually work on something at the church. We’ve cleaned up and done gardens and things like that, but we’ve never actually been a part of building anything or beautifying the church,” Shugert said.
Climber pulled the old window from storage across the street on Tuesday, and volunteer kids, from grades 9-12, helped get the window and the church ready to hang inside the choir room.
“Yesterday (Monday) a couple of guys came over here and they prepped the wall. They had to build a frame and things like that. Today (Tuesday) they need the manpower to move it and clean in, and then they’re actually going to try to get it in place where they can get it all setup today and the finishing trim-work will be done tomorrow (Wednesday),” Shugert said. “A couple of the guys were really excited because they got to do a little electrical, a little framing, and understand a lot more about masonry and everything.”
The work is being supervised and inspected by Climer.
“They’re working hard, and I think learning. It’s all going very well,” Climer said.
In addition to the church window, more than 20 volunteers also scoured the community in search of projects on which to offer their help. This week they have helped paint a house, clean up yards, repaired a garage, cleaned out gutters, and built a retaining wall for drainage.
“I get the satisfaction to know that I serve God through my work, and obviously learning new things about building and getting an experience I’ve never gotten before,” said 17-year-old youth volunteer Matt Bickett.
The annual summer mission work began Monday and will continue through Thursday. On Friday, the kids will be rewarded with a fun trip to Zoombezi Bay Waterpark in Columbus.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.