Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Lee Ann Powers, a candidate for ministry on the deacon track and a student at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Lee Ann lives and worships in Lynchburg, Virginia.

What is Park View Community Mission (PVCM) on Memorial Ave /Wadsworth St in Lynchburg? Please read and become a part of God’s love and shalom.

Park View’s mission is to offer help to people for their present life, offer hope for a better life and offer Christ for eternal life.

A relationship with Jesus, as the parable of the Good Samaritan demonstrates, is defined not by being a neighbor in the passive sense but by finding ways to cross boundaries and to be a neighbor to the impoverished and broken in ways that will enhance their success. It’s about working to make practical improvements in the lives of individuals, families and communities.

PVCM is following Jesus in the most basic way – by loving and caring for the economically disadvantaged, the excluded, the outcast, the unwashed and the unwanted. These ‘unwanted’ are men and women with drug and alcohol addictions; without homes or stable housing; non-English speaking immigrants; the unemployed and those working several low-income paying jobs; the elderly on fixed incomes; multi-generational families raising kids whose parents are no longer in their life due to jail, death or desertion; and those who have just made bad choices in their lives. These are not statistics but real people who are a part of our community and are struggling daily just to survive.

PVCM strives to model hospitality, compassion, love, forgiveness, the power of acceptance and a faith without conventional church walls. For struggling households, PVCM is an extended household that comes together for worship and meals. For kids from dysfunctional homes and drug infested neighborhoods, PVCM is a sanctuary and a place to learn alternatives so they can grow and thrive. PVCM is hearing the cries of those suffering in our community just as we hear the Word of the Lord as a summons to make the world better by making known more fully the Gospel as Good News for our community.

The early Christians defined themselves by a faith that aligned them with the sick, the hungry, the excluded, and the broken, moving across every ethnic and cultural barrier to bring healing and hope. In the book of Acts we read that when the church shared its life and possessions, thus demonstrating that God’s Spirit was in their midst, the result was dramatic: “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” The early church grew dramatically because its members reached out to others in love and compassion. The costly demands of the Gospel were related to their understanding of a merciful God. The church shaped by the Spirit must always extend itself in sharing and caring beyond its ‘membership.’

The church and its belief in God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation and a new world provide the basis for people to believe that things can change in both their personal life and within their community. PVCM’s presence and spiritual commitment to the community makes it a true leader for this change. It provides the support people need to keep going, the inspiration for courage that is essential to moving forward, and the structure through which to accomplish it.

PVCM is not about ‘having or being a ministry’ so much as it is a community of people who worship and read scripture together, who share in the hope of the Gospel and who share joys, tragedies and resources in Christ. There is ‘one Lord’ and we are all ‘one people’ celebrating the Gospel in this broken and divided world. Reconciliation, as well as forgiveness and grace, are a gift from God. As recipients of God’s grace, PVCM strives to promote hope and healing, and to patiently nurture reconciliation by being incarnational within the community it is blessed to be a part of.

Shalom (peace) is God putting back together a broken people and a broken world. Embody Christ and be personally transformed by helping PVCM offer shalom to individuals and the community by:

  • offering help for the present life (food, hot meals, clothes, funds, tangible goods; yourself thru servantship, leadership),
  • offering hope for a better life (love, acceptance, grace and mercy) and
  • offering Christ for eternal life (the Gospel in word and deed).

To learn more about the Park View Community Mission, click here.