Cherryville area church, school, partner to bring Easter to area children
Anthony Grove Baptist Church Young Adults Minister Trey Newton and Church Secretary Tracy Adams with some of the Easter baskets already donated. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)
by MICHAEL E. POWELL
When faced with the “new normal” of not being able to have their Annual Easter Egg hunt at the Cherryville Golf and Country Club, the ministerial staff of Anthony Grove Baptist Church decided to rethink a way for kids to enjoy getting all their eggs – and in one basket, too!
Enter Trey Newton, the church’s Young Adult Minister, who thought about how they could still get Easter eggs to the kiddies but still keep in line with the coronavirus distancing and safety rules set out by the state.
Newton, 25, decided what a great idea it would be so he reached out to the school system to see how to help kids have a great Easter.
“They appreciated the idea,” noted Newton. He had input from W. Blaine Beam Intermediate’s Kim Beam, and it was decided the safest way was to get pre-packaged Easter baskets, brought to the church or donated from stores like Walmart, Food Lion, CVS, Target, Dollar General, or Walgreens.
To clarify further, Newton, via email, wrote, “Anthony Grove Baptist
Church is partnering with W.B. Beam Intermediate School to provide prepackaged Easter baskets to students who may not be able to experience an Easter this year.
“We will only be accepting prepackaged Easter baskets for sanitary reasons.”
He noted the baskets can be dropped off Sunday, April 5, from 8:30, to 9:30 a.m., at their Drive- In church, or Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., at the church office, located at 100 Anthony Grove Rd, Crouse, NC.
Church pastor, the Rev. Dr. Dennis Bean, said the Easter basket drive is a “first” for him in his 22 years at the church, which is also famous for its Easter Drama, which Rev. Bean noted they can’t do this year because of the coronavirus situation.
Regarding the Easter Basket drive, Dr. Bean said they will see how the program goes and evaluate.
“We will try and find out from the school how it was received, then go from there for next year,” he said.
Dr. Bean continued, “We used to put out between 4,000 and 5,000 eggs at the country club, then have a cook out afterwards. The egg hunt was separated by age groups for the kids so everyone could find some.”
Rev. Bean said during trying times such as what we are experiencing today, the church is called on to provide hope and encouragement for God’s people.
“We want to be here to minister to our community, and will continue to be here long after this (virus pandemic) goes away,” he said.
Tricia Crocker, Minister of Youth and Children at Anthony Grove, noted that, “Being able to partner with Beam Intermediate during this time is very important to us. Buying, collecting, and distributing Easter baskets is more to us than just making sure children have candy, bunnies, and treats this Easter. It is sharing love, hope, and encouragement, any way possible in these uncertain times.
“Spreading the love of Jesus is the most important thing we can do, especially now. It is for the sake of the Good News we are thinking and going outside the box to stay connected in a time of disconnect.”
Kim Beam, of W. Blaine Beam Intermediate, said, “As a local teacher and lifelong citizen of Cherryville, I felt called to reach out to area churches recently, to see what efforts may be available to our families, who are dealing with extreme challenges, due to COVID-19.
“We are hearing of many needs in our community and as a Christian, the CHURCH is the first place that comes to my mind. Several churches responded with Food Boxes being available from God’s Work, Our Hands ministry of St. John’s Lutheran Church, and First United Methodist Church, with their Free Hot Dog Supper meals each week.
“Some responses were they are working on some things, but nothing formally at this time. Then, I received a timely response from Trey Newton of Anthony Grove Baptist Church, saying 'Whatever you need, we’ll make it happen.' He and I chatted over the weekend; he met with his staff and they proposed this very sweet and thoughtful idea; the Easter baskets.
“I was thrilled with this idea, and after discussing with my principal Todd Dellinger and School Counselor Mark Reep, I quickly replied that we would love to team up with them.”
Mrs. Beam said she didn’t know if such had been done with the other elementary school in Cherryville, but added, “I know they are continually offering programs and events for our area children throughout the year. They seem to have a very strong outreach program, and that is a blessing in this community!”
Beam said she knows Anthony Grove is coordinating all of the donations being brought to their church.
“We have an idea of which of our families are over-stretched with financial needs at this time, and who would be grateful with the joy these gifts will bring!
“Our amazing teachers are in touch with parents on a weekly basis, during this time away from the 'physical’ school. They are checking in to see how we can assist with more than just the academic needs of our students.
“I don’t have all the answers about logistics, deliveries, etc., but rest assured, where there is a will, there is a way and I believe God will work at the details.
“Who knows, it may just be the Easter Bunny himself, out on a mission to make these deliveries happen!”
Newton said the church also went with social media, such as Facebook, to get the word out about this program, as well as their very popular “Drive-In Church Services”, where if you want to give an “Amen”, you only have to honk your horn, said Church Secretary Tracy Adams. Said Adams, “We usually have about 450 in our Drive-In Church, or roughly 162 cars.”
Newton said even if you took COVID-19 out of the equation of today’s problems, you still have people who are lost and looking to God, wanting the hope and encouragement only He can truly provide.
“We have many folks who watch our live streaming services who haven’t maybe been in church in years!” said Trey. “God still gives us fresh and new, innovative ways to outreach and bring the gospel message to everyone we can!”
For other questions about this ministry or others, Trey said to call the church office at (704) 435-6001.