Pavilion Churches is a group of Jennings County churches that joined together in community ministry.
The group has been together approximately eight years. The partner churches are Christ’s Way Christian Church, North Vernon Church of the Nazarene, North Vernon Wesleyan Church, and Zenas Baptist Church.
“When we were looking at community needs,” said Pastor Caleb Reynolds of North Vernon Church of the Nazarene, “there was a lot that we felt called for a gospel-informed response.
Reynolds stated that the resources of the individual churches are meager compared to what they are able to accomplish together. The group has found that working together, they discovered resources and connections through the joining of the churches that they would never have imagined to be there.
About six years ago the Pavilion Churches partnered with Decatur Plastics Products and helped to create The Potter’s House, a residential recovery ministry for men. It is a 14-bed recovery house that serves to help men in the community in their journey to sobriety.
“We have found that the connections the participants make with local churches has been a critical part of our programming,” said Reynolds. “Our church families can be a kind of second family for the guys, where they find the love of Jesus through the love of God’s people.”
The churches have stopped by the local schools periodically to fill the teacher’s break rooms with snacks and drinks to support them for all they do for the children of the community. They heard that the staff of Sand Creek Elementary school were purchasing snacks during the standardized testing out of their own pockets, often spending $900 or more. The churches and the Good Samaritan Food Pantry donated so many snacks that even weeks after testing wrapped up, they were still able to provide students with healthy snacks during the day.
A couple of the group’s projects were for Sand Creek. It had a number of students behind with lunch costs, and the next step was to send the debts to collection. The group covered $1,300 to get those students in the clear and is trying to see the feasibility of a consignment auction near the end of summer to help raise funds that could cover those shortfalls next year.
Jennings County High School (JCHS) senior and attendee of NV Church of the Nazarene, Rachel Treadway, organized a hygiene products drive for the Sand Creek students. Between a couple of the Pavilion churches, the collected items were way more than anyone anticipated.
“Rachel Treadway is such a sweet, compassionate individual, and we were very blessed to receive this generous donation for our students,” said Susan Webster from the Jennings County School Corporation.
Following is a portion of the letter Reynolds recently received from Rachel:
”Here are some photos from the first delivery of donations I made. Collectively, we raised more than 1,100 items. I’ll let you do the exact math if you want; eight items in each kit and 122 kits total. I’d also like to note that I am not counting all the loose items that didn’t fit into kits. I would estimate that we had about 200-250 items that didn’t get put into kits, but are to be passed out on a student by student basis. Mrs. Webster was shocked at the sheer number of donations, and she cannot thank you two and your congregations enough. There are 40 to 50 kids who receive weekend supplements for food and other necessities, so these kits will help these kids for a number of months.
I could not be more proud to call myself a member of such a generous and supportive community. Thank you both for being such a blessing to my project, the community, and the students at Sand Creek.” —Rachel