The dream we had years ago was that if we purchased a facility it would be a “Box for Good” and would somehow not take one dollar from mission and ministry. God has made that dream a reality. We lease parts of our upstairs to four groups, Golden Path Academy, Ridgetop Dental, Nurturing Touch, and a new tenant, Artistic Fuel. Those leases pay for our building expenses so that every offering dollar is for mission and ministry. Ridgetop Dental has helped us in our partnership with Sugarland Elementary School providing dental work for some of the students who most needed it. Nurturing Touch and Golden Path Academy serve families and we are excited to see the impact of Artistic Fuel. Our lobby and coffee café are places that create community daily.
The weekly Gatherings: It is hard to say if God is more obviously working in the lives of our students or in the lives of those who have volunteered to serve our students in the weekly youth group and weekly Bible studies. The exploration of faith class has led to deep conversations and out of it a number of students want to be baptized and “officially” be a part of Riverside.
Camps this Summer:
- High School will go to Deep Creek Lake, June 26-30
- Middle School and rising and existing freshman will go to On the Edge camp at Ligonier Camp, July 17-21
Children and Family Ministry
SonRise Camp will be held July 11-15 at Sugarland Elementary, mostly outdoors. We have seen God in the planning and can’t wait until the actual camp. Recently, we added a separate 4th/5th grade Sunday School class and look forward to incorporating playground activities again as the weather gets warmer. We are also reestablishing a nursery at the 9:15 AM worship time for our youngest members in the Sterling Woods area off Ridegtop Coffee and Tea. We believe God is moving us to start “Adventure 45” this summer, which will offer youth group-type activities for 4th and 5th We have seen God at work in the way people have responded to lead SonRise, teach Sunday School, or serve in the nursery. We do not take for granted the leading of the Holy Spirit to allow us the privilege of sharing Jesus with our children in a way that is age appropriate.
Worship is a time, both online and in person, when God moves our hearts and minds. Sometimes it is in a song, sometimes in a prayer, sometimes in a sermon, sometimes in sharing communion, and sometimes in all of those ways.
Dinner and… Gathering around the table to share a meal, conversation, and encouragement is a basic Christian practice. Riverside is holding weekly gatherings for dinner where anyone can have a meal, get to know others, and engage in discussions or disciplines of the church, such as service, prayer, and scripture. We have seen God use this time, the first and third Wednesdays at 6 PM, to help people get connected. It is a great way for those who are new to Riverside to meet others and for those who have been a part of Riverside to reconnect.
College Campus MInistry
Riverside received a grant to support the hiring of a ¼ time campus ministry position for NOVA students and other students who are commuting to college. We have put together a search team that developed a job description and is at work looking to find the right person to fulfill this aspect of the mission. The key role we see for this position is to seek creative ways to help connect college students to God and others through Jesus Christ. A secondary role is to seek creative ways to assist students, especially those who are the first generation to attend college, to study and navigate college life.
The Care Team is reengaging, serving where care is needed. We are looking to rebuild the team, which is made up of people willing to be the “hosts” when there is a funeral, make a meal for home delivery when needed, give someone a ride to an appointment, or simply be a listening ear. The Care Line phone line is now up and running at 571-249-5998. We have had a number of funerals this spring and the ministry of the Care Team has shown comfort and hospitality in profound and touching ways.
What started out as a modest response to create peace after the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007 and 2008 has become a cooperative society with 595 farmers. They started off with seed potatoes and have expanded to include milk collection, bulking and marketing. Last year Starlight trained 954 farmers on climate smart agriculture, bought a tractor and attachments, and took steps to overcome unpredictable rains. It is hard not to see God everywhere in this partnership.