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Macedonia Members Support Better Living Thru Faith
Story by Taashi Rowe; Photo by Patricia Wagner
Macedonia members pose in front of the Better Living Center on the day of the grand opening.
Members of Allegheny East Conference’s Macedonia church in Chester, Pa., have taken a flying leap of faith. Looking around their community they saw many of their neighbors in need and wondered how they could help. So after surveying residents, they renovated an empty building on their property to the tune of $100,000 and are now using it as a community center. Calling it the Better Living Center, members opened the center last fall. The building has a nearly $90,000-a-year operating budget and the church, which has a membership of 70, is committed to supporting this project to the tune of $30,000 annually. They have also received help from the North American Division, Allegheny East Conference and from several corporate donors, but church members are by far providing the highest subsidy both in monies and volunteer time.
“On the balance sheet, it doesn’t make sense,” said Blane Stoddart, president of the center. “This is a huge cost center for our church, but we believe it’s going to change lives and it has changed lives.”
According to the 2010 United States Census, some 32.3 percent of Chester residents are below the poverty line, and church members aim to help through distributing food to some 30 families each month; tutoring 80 kids a month; and providing a computer lab for training, home work and job search. They’ve even teamed up with a nearby YMCA to provide summer programs for youth and are preparing inmates at the local prison for re-entry to society when they are released. All these services are offered free of charge.
“We are not just about having church services each Sabbath, we want to be there as a service to the community. The church exists to help people on a regular basis,” said George Jackson, the church’s pastor.
“The numbers don’t add up, but God is faithful,” Stoddart says. For more information, or to donate, contact Stoddart at 610) 497 1082.
Church members gave away book filled with school supplies at the center’s opening.
During the grand opening, a volunteer provides free health screenings, including blood pressure checks.
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