Church models stewardship for community; welcomes others to join

Published 9:58 am Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Contributed Photo  Volunteers from East Riverpark Christian Church did their part Saturday to beautify city parks including Riverside Park, Edwards Island Park and the City Park Facility.

Contributed Photo
Volunteers from East Riverpark Christian Church did their part Saturday to beautify city parks including Riverside Park, Edwards Island Park and the City Park Facility.

“Everyone knows what the church is against, but do they know what this church is for?” asked East River Park Christian Church Pastor Lee Hunt. “We are for people — for the people of our community.”

Eighty-eight members of the church — almost half its population — recently spent their Saturday working to beautify and improve multiple areas of the community.

Hunt said this first service day, part of the church’s Beyond Our Walls  project, is just the beginning of a number of similar service days.

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Volunteers visited three areas of the community: a private residence, three public parks and the East Tennessee Christian Home and Academy (ETCHA).

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At Riverside Park, Edwards Island Park, and the City Park Facility, they mulched, planted shade trees, painted playground equipment and a pavilion. They also picked up trash along the Doe River and the Riverfront Linear Path with the Friends of the Elizabethon Parks and Recreation Department.

“We had a great day and got much accomplished,” said Mike Mains, Parks and Recreation Director. “It was a pleasure working with East River Park Christian Church. They did a great job for our community and the work they accomplished will be enjoyed by our citizens for years to come.”

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Hunt said at the private home of a church member who had recently undergone surgery and at ETCHA, they helped with home maintenance and landscaping.

“In the future, we hope to help the city and local businesses as well,” Hunt said. “For us, this is just a way to serve the community.”

Hunt joined the church as the pastor in October 2015, and though this is the first service project they have done, he said they plan to continue and already have projects in the works.

“If you are following scripture, for those people that do, they should be actively involved in serving others,” Hunt said. “We’re doing this to show love to our community with no strings attached.”

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He said on July 31, they plan to host an educator’s Sunday, in which educators, school staff and school administrators will be invited to attend a service in which members will pray for them in the upcoming school year. Church members will provide a dinner that night and will determine ways they can be of service to the school system in the coming school year at that time, Hunt said.

On September 25, he said they have a free community event planned at Kiwanis Park.

If people want to join in the church’s initiatives to better the community by helping the city, merchants and other organizations, they can call the church at (423) 542-8783 or visit its website at

Similarly, the Friends of the Parks Program provides opportunities for citizens to give back whether it is in conjunction with a local organization’s initiative like Beyond Our Walls, or with private individuals.

“We feel very fortunate to have been able to work side by side with several organizations in recent years that believe in what we do and have made a difference in our community by assisting us with volunteer projects,” said Mains. “East River Park Christian Church took the time to improve our facilities and we hope they received as much of a blessing as we did on this day.”

If you are interested in a Friends of the Parks volunteer project please contact the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department at 423-547-6441.

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