The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 16, 2014

Life Point Apostolic Church plans food pantry

A small Eccles church is making a big impact on the community and has plans to begin construction on a food pantry/fellowship hall for the community in the fall or the spring, the pastor reported.

Eccles is a small mining community of around 400 residents, located along W.Va. 3 in Raleigh County.

Life Point Apostolic Church Pastor Steve Stover said the 25 full-time members of the independent Life Point Apostolic Church want to offer Eccles and Whitesville residents, along with those of other communities, a place that shows God’s love.

“It would benefit anyone,” said Stover. “We wouldn’t put any limitations on it.”

The church shares the Eccles Community Church building with Eccles Community Church, according to Stover, and “hundreds” of visitors have walked through the doors for Life Point church services on Sunday and Wednesday evenings.

The food pantry is planned for the parking lot of the church.

“We’re wanting to build a food pantry/fellowship hall to where it’s hooked up to a generator,” said Stover. “So if the power goes off, the generator would automatically kick on.”

He noted that there are many senior citizens in the Eccles area.

“If something happened (like the 2012 derecho) it would be a good place for the people to go, that’s air-conditioned and has free food for the community.”

Reaching Eccles residents and others is a main focus of the church, and Stover emphasized that Life Point church members — not just their pastor — are behind the food pantry and have a passion for showing God’s love to their communities.

“The people we have, and the church and the ladies, they’re really great,” he said. “They’re constantly making food for people if they hear of someone sick.

“I don’t cook, but they cook. It’s not a one-person thing. It’s the whole church.”

He reported that church members recently made up 250 to 300 baskets of laundry detergent and baked goods and gave them to Eccles residents.

“Every resident in Eccles got a basket,” he said. “We try to do stuff in the community ... and just do it to let them know ... churches do care about the community.”

Stover said Life Point Apostolic supports foreign missions —  raising nearly $2,500 for a local journalist’s mission trip to Africa in April and donating to Gideon’s International, a professional men’s group which places Bibles in hotels, prisons, schools and colleges — but added that there is a mission field in the neighborhoods right outside of the church doors.

“When you read the Bible, there’s a lot of rules and regulations,” said Stover. “I believe in rules and regulations, but the Bible makes it clear ... God is love.

“It doesn’t say, ‘God has love.’ It says ‘God is love.’

“I believe you cannot spread the gospel if you cannot spread love,” he said. “When people are going through hard times, they need to know that people love them.”

Church members have taken free lunches to security guards of local businesses, he added.

They’ve also set up hot dog stands twice on the parking lot of the church and given away hot dogs and baked goods without accepting donations, and the church has hosted coat drives and back-to-school events for the community, all free of charge.

The pastor, who has worked in management, pointed out that coal mining is a dangerous job but also that the positions sometimes involve long work hours.

He said some of the women in the church plan to cook meals once a month in the food pantry and to serve free anyone who comes in to relax and have fellowship.

“I know when you’re working 60, 70 hours a week sometimes, you’re constantly in a hurry,” he said. “It’s a mining community in Eccles and on down to Whitesville ... just to let them know the churches care about them, for those that would like a hot meal.”

Expanding their ministry to include the food pantry and fellowship hall facility seems like the logical next step, said Stover.

“We’re going to be doing some building, and God will supply the funds for that,” he said. “Once the building is completed, those in the community that have family members or friends that will be in need of something can contact the church.”

Life Point Apostolic Church will be at Maxwell Hill Community Center on July 26 to raise funds via a silent auction and yard sale.

Stover said anyone who needs assistance from the church may call 304-573-3416 or 304-250-8862.

—  E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com

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