The Rev. Bill Oldland ends every service reminding the congregation at St. Bartholomew’s ACNA, to “Go out into the world and tell someone about Jesus today!” And the congregation is doing just that!
Following the litigation in which the congregation lost their property, St. Bartholomew’s ACNA opened their new doors on October 30 and just 10 days later embarked on their first outreach project delivering food to poll workers at the six different polling stations around town, all before noon. Later that day they hosted an open house supper for the community and served over 120 people.
This rhythm and commitment of serving and blessing with big hearts in the name of Jesus was just beginning. Members of St. Bart’s went knocking on doors and calling around to neighbors, friends, and strangers with a warm invitation to the church’s pig picking. Fr. Bill Oldland is very clear that “If we wait for people to come to us, it will never happen. We have to do what Christ did, we have to go to them.”
With their “Fill-the-Tub” program St. Bartholomew’s collects food items to fill three bins every month, which they bless and deliver to Hartsville Interfaith Ministries. Volunteers from St. Bartholomew’s get out and serve every month in the local soup kitchen run by a Methodist Church in town as well as packing and delivering 33 bag lunches for those visiting the soup kitchen at the end of the month.
“We are always looking to work with other churches in the area,” says Oldland, and the church is now teaming up with Cornerstone Baptist Church. Together they prepare and share around 400 free meals once a quarter along with offering bibles and prayer.
St. Bartholomew’s has also found ways to care for those in the Saleeby Center of Hartsville, an immediate care facility for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. At Easter they arranged for residents to have nail care packages and at Christmas adopted a wing of 14 residents to ensure each resident was given two presents.
The community of Hartsville is in full support of St. Bartholomew’s and several have remarked that they can’t believe just how much this little church is doing to serve others.
In addition to urging his congregation to reach out, Oldland has issued the same call to the members of the Greater Hartsville Ministerial Alliance of which he is a member. “We need to go out, find out what the needs are in the community and respond to them, not just with money but put people behind it because the community is watching.”
The people of St. Bartholomew’s ACNA are tirelessly and faithfully on a mission to discover the needs of their community and make Jesus known by the love and care they feed others with. Join in praying that God will continue to energize and strengthen St. Bartholomew’s, and all of us, to keep going into the world.
By Molly Hare, ADOSC Communications Assistant