Presbytery of St. Augustine
Congregation serves Christ by serving its neighbors
April 7, 2016
First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville, Florida, is located in downtown Gainesville, and has a long history of involvement with the University of Florida, its neighbor to the west. In the summer of 2014, seeking to find opportunities to serve its neighbors to the east, members of First Presbyterian met with a group of African American pastors serving Southeast Gainesville churches. Southeast Gainesville is home to a significant population of underserved youth and children who are living in poverty.
During that meeting, members of First Presbyterian met Natalie King, who was running FOCUS CARES (College Attainment and Readiness Enrichment), a six-week enrichment program for elementary to high school students at Showers of Blessings Harvest Center. That summer, members of First Presbyterian supported the program by preparing and serving lunch every Friday for 125 students and teachers.
Desiring to continue the partnership, members of First Presbyterian served as tutors at Showers of Blessings each Monday night over the course of the following school year. At the end of that year, the decision was made to move the tutoring program to First Presbyterian, which made it easier for University of Florida students to assist. Students from elementary to high school receive tutoring and test preparation assistance. Help with college applications and job applications also is available. The tutors are not only University of Florida students, but also members of First Presbyterian, Showers of Blessings, and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Jesus called us to share the good news of his love. We seek to do that by solving math problems or filling out college applications, while sharing pizza and cookies with our neighbors.
Andy Vloedman, Elder, First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Almighty God, you have called us to share the good news of the love of Jesus Christ. Help us to realize that the opportunity to do that is as close as our neighbor. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.