It was such a blast having First Christian Church & Waterway out to our Bentonville Shelter earlier this month! They are doing some awesome things in the community, and I am going to let Peggy Hicks, Outreach Coordinator, give a little insight into who they are and why they serve!
Tell me a little bit about First Christian Church & Waterway!
First Christian Church & WaterWay are focused on being Disciples of Christ’s love – exemplifying that love to ALL within our walls, our community and our world. We are an inclusive place of worship where everyone is welcome at our table wherever they may be in their journey of life and faith. Reaching out to our community and world with tangible expressions of Christ’s love is a huge part of our calling and identity as followers of Jesus. Our Outreach Ministries play a central role in the life of our church, giving us ways to live into our faith, as well as a means of showing the world what Christ’s love looks like.
How did you guys get started serving in the community?
Plan Be Sunday was created in 2006 as an opportunity to express that tangible love to our neighbors in need within our community. Each year on the Sunday after Easter, we have an abbreviated time of worship and then go out to Be the church. Over the years, teams of folks have picked up trash in parks, power washed homes in assisted living communities, completed outside lawn work , cleaned the inside of homes, worked at local food pantries and entertained the elderly at local nursing facilities – just to name a few Plan Be acts of service.
What made you guys choose The Salvation Army?
The Salvation Army Emergency Shelter is one of a very few facilities in Benton County assisting the homeless in offering food, a place to sleep, counseling and referral services. It is a perfect fit for one of our Plan Be team projects this year.
We’re excited to spruce up the outside of the facility. After all, this is a place our neighbors are calling home for a short time while they find their feet again and work toward self-sustainability. Having a home that keeps us safe from the environment, fills our bellies and gives us a place to rest our head is the most important aspect of what that home provides. However, a home that is neat, clean and well taken care of inside and outside also provides us with a sense of peace and contentment; two qualities of living that are often missing from the day to day life of the homeless and qualities those of us not struggling with sustainability often take for granted.
Tell me a little bit about your bicycle ministry!
Chain Reaction, our Bicycle Outreach Project, began at FCC & WaterWay in June 2015 as part of a larger organization started in Houston, Texas in 2009. Transportation is imperative to those seeking employment, maintaining employment or attending school. Unfortunately, owning a vehicle is costly and public transportation in Northwest Arkansas, although available, isn’t easily accessible or inexpensive. A bicycle not only cuts transportation costs to almost nothing but can cut transportation times to and from work or school by more than 50%.
Simply put, a bicycle can be the difference between working and not working, education or no education.
Our vision for the future of Chain Reaction is that we are able to provide a bike to anyone in need in Northwest Arkansas anytime they need it, as well as providing riding education, safety tips and bicycle repair and replacement.