Hunter First Baptist, Parks & Rec beautify parks

Published 4:59 pm Friday, June 22, 2018

Expanding community outreach has been one key to the success of Elizabethton Parks and Recreation.

Especially in the spring and summer months, the limited staff at the department is often stretched thin when it comes to maintaining area parks and helping manage the Elizabethton Twins. To help ease the burden, the department has experienced overwhelming feedback from their “Friends of the Park” program.

Last weekend, Hunter First Baptist Church joined Parks & Rec staff for a variety of projects, including beautification and cleanup in front of Joe O’Brien Field and Edwards Island Park.

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“We’re grateful for the support from our community,” Mike Mains, Parks & Rec director, said. “Our staff is always looking to better the area for the public by making sure our parks are in good condition. We’re able to make this happen with the support from different groups, like Hunter First Baptist. The help they provided really means a lot to us.”

Steve Nauman, Sr., is the pastor of Hunter First Baptist and indicated the church is always more than willing to lend a helping hand to a service that proves to be beneficial for the community.

“We love our city and enjoy serving it for God’s glory,” he said. “Over the last several years, Mike Mains and David Nanney (recreation manager) have provided us with excellent opportunities to serve the community in meaningful ways that both beautify the city and save tax dollars.”

The recent work day was one of the largest turnouts for a project, according to Mains.

“We started 2018 by asking the question, ‘if our church ceased to exist, would anyone notice?’ … this was the catalyst for us to seek opportunities to serve and connect with the community around us,” Nauman said.

Roughly 150 people took to the area parks to do different projects as part of the church’s “SERVE” program.

“SERVE is our annual event to kick off the summer community engagement projects,” Nauman said. “This year, we were privileged to be joined by churches from Scottsburg, Va., and Bunn, N.C. We had about 150 people, mostly whole families, landscaping, cutting firewood, picking up trash, painting and serving senior citizens.”

The passion of giving back comes from a passage in the Bible that church members take to heart, Nauman added.

“As we worked, we took opportunities to help, encourage, pray for and witness to the people along our path,” he said. “We have been motivated to live out this truth from Jeremiah 29:7, ‘Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare’.”

Mains added there are opportunities available for community groups to get involved with various projects.

“The measure of a great city is not in its size or public facilities, but in its people,” Nauman said. “Elizabethton has great people! Imagine how our relationships would flourish, if we brought the churches, families, businesses and civic organizations together for the good of our community.”

Learn more about the program by contacting Parks & Rec at (423) 547-6441.