Reaching Out, Againby Dennis Grubaugh - The Telegraph (September 23, 2009) on January 28, 2013
Church’s homecoming weekend marks duel anniversary
For most of its 80 years, the people of Calvary Baptist Church have been reaching out. This weekend, they also are inviting everyone in.
The church and its ministerial outreach arm, Cornerstone Ministries are extending an invitation to the community to attend a Homecoming weekend this Saturday and Sunday at the church at 1422 Washington Ave.
“Calvary Baptist Church has had a strong presence in this community for over 80 years,” Senior Pastor Andre’ Dobson said. “New churches have been planted, the gospel has been preached and lives have been impacted by the Lord Jesus Christ. What is exciting is to see a church family that doesn’t simply rest on its history, but is thankful for what God has done about the future.”
The event will include activities beginning on Saturday for senior members, followed by a day-long schedule of worship and fellowship on Sunday for the community. On Sunday morning, special music and guests will be present for the services at 8 and 10:45 a.m. On Sunday afternoon, Calvary will call special attention to Cornerstone Ministries, which is located next-door to the church and just marked a decade of service. An open house will begin at 2 p.m., followed by a musical celebration and fellowship that begins at 5:30 p.m. in Calvary’s multi-purpose Christian Life Center.
Marcus Lane, Cornerstone’s director, said the program is celebrating 10 years of family ministry, conveying God’s plan by helping people who are struggling with life issues such as divorce, addiction, parenting, and finances.
“With the birth of Cornerstone in 1999, Calvary Baptist Church signaled its intention to minister to the hurting in this community,” Lane said. “It is fulfilling, but it is heart-wrenching. Without a doubt, you look at the day, and I say, “I’m blessed,” because you see so many people who are hurting.”
Area churches along with Christian-owned and-managed businesses now partner with Cornerstone in the ministry of family-building. Cornerstone is largely volunteer and donation-supported to ensure its programs remain free.
“Some churches like to discuss the relationship between faith and works. It is clear to us that scripture indicates both are needed,” Dobson said. “We wanted to be sure our profession was backed by our practice, and Cornerstone has allowed us to do that in this community.”
Calvary is host to ministries. One is Upward, a basketball league for children, in which large crowds visit during the game days on Saturdays. Another will be the Fall Spectacular on October 30, in which the churches parking lot will be filled with activities for both adults and children.
A financial advice series offered by Dave Ramsey has been occurring on Sundays at 5 p.m. Lane said many people who might not be willing to go to church still are in need of the kind of ministries that Calvary offers. A duel message is being spread for this weekend. “We’ve got literally hundreds of individuals from Calvary working behind the scenes to make sure word gets out to the community and surrounding area. Calvary has the heart for reaching out to the community and those around the Metro East area for 80-plus years.”
People in need of Cornerstones services can visit on Wednesdays, with no appointment needed for walk-ins (8:00am - 10:00am).
Cornerstone Ministries Highlights:
July 12, 1999 After planting six “daughter” churches in Illinois, Cornerstone Ministries is founded at Calvary’s community outreach ministry. Cornerstone provides financial assistance, support groups, criminal justice chaplains, confidential counseling, mentoring and classes in various skills. The ministry locates in the old H&R Block building, 1426 Washington Ave.
Sept. 1, 1999 A recently retired mechanic is called full-time missions at Cornerstone, launching the Cornerstone Car Care ministry. The ministry has saved area needy families more than $392,000 through donations of used cars/trucks, consumable supplies such as oil and anti-freeze, donated mechanical labor and wholesale purchased repair parts.
March 2002 Cornerstone receives a donated two-bedroom house in the Milton area of Alton to create transitional housing for those working families who need it. Donated material and volunteer efforts made the house a home.
February 2004 Every student (ages 10-17) locked up in the Madison County Juvenile Detention Home begins to receive a “packet” from the department chaplain. Packets include: a letter from the chaplain “A Way Out” (published testimonies of four students who found Jesus while incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility) donated publications from American Bible Society; and gospel tracts.
June 2004 The largest single-day event at Calvary (a record later broken) brings more than 1,400 people out for Cornerstone’s Neighborhood Block Party.
April 2006 Cornerstone Ministries launches Mission Point to “take the church to the people” by establishing community outreach programs at manufactured homes and apartment complexes.
Fall 2008 Men in Action begins, with Calvary’s men reaching out to men and boys while helping families in need. Auto mechanics along with small home repair projects are used as a mentoring launch point for building the family, one man at a time.
July 12, 2009 Ten-year anniversary. The ministry has played witness to 302 men, women, boys and girls (primarily adults) to receive Jesus as their savior.