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Walking for a worthy cause
In the pulpit
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It’s time for another brisk morning walk. Members of the First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church community outreach are preparing for an upcoming walk-a-thon to raise funds for two of its program.  
At 6:30 a.m. Saturday, May 16, the five-mile spring walk-a-thon will begin with a morning prayer in the church’s sanctuary.  The walk starts at approximately 7 a.m.
The proceeds will help support the after-school tutoring program and drug and alcohol recovery ministry.  
“This faith-based organization is governed by a nine-member board of directors,” board president Gary Gilliard said. “Focusing in these two areas is the church’s way of  reaching the lost, teaching the found and making disciples who are heaven-bound.”  
According to Gilliard, the goal of the after-school tutoring ministry is to remove the stigma associated with such a program.  
“In some circles, going to tutoring is reserved for kids who are failing. We try to get the message out that tutoring not only helps those who are failing, but it helps those who are passing to maintain those good grades,” he said.  
“When parents understand that a HOPE Scholarship is given to students who maintain a B average, and when they consider the savings that they will receive, they will be more willing to support a program such as this,” Gilliard said. “We’ve purchased five laptop computers this past school season and this has enabled us to better prepare our students for the CRCT and graduation tests.  With a successful fundraiser this year, we plan to purchase three more computers.”
Attendance is up from previous years for the drug/alcohol program. “When it comes to sobriety, it boils down to how bad do you want it,” Gilliard said. “The program is similar to Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, but instead it’s Bible-based. We recognize Jesus Christ as the healing power of all sicknesses.
“We truly believe that if men and women put all their trust in God, they can become new creatures and old things are passed away. Of course, this trust has to be unwavering and faith-based.  In the past month, we’ve been blessed to employ several members of our recovery program to perform manual and skilled labor jobs in the community,” he said.
“We meet every Monday for one hour. However, by giving them jobs, we hope to keep them busy doing something constructive during the work week. This program is called “Working of Jesus,” and the participants make a commitment to attend church service, prayer service and the weekly outreach meetings,” Gilliard said.  
Grand marshals  for this year’s walk-a-thon are Riceboro City Councilman Chris Stacy and Walthourville Mayor Pro Tem Larry Baker.   
“Having these community leaders involved with this worthy cause lets others know that we’re focusing on the community as a whole and not just our little corner of the world called First Calvary,” Gilliard said.   “It’s our hope that one day this walk-a-thon will become as big as the Relay for Life cancer walk or the Walk to Dorchester. I’ve invited other community leaders and elected officials, including friends from the business community, to participate and we’re excepting a large turnout.”       
For more information, call Gilliard at 977-3527 or the church at 876-3911.
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