Kenyan Congregation Finds A Home In Charlottesville Virginia
Charlottesville, VA Just in time for Christmas, the Africa Lighthouse Baptist Temple has found a church property near Stony Point to become its permanent home. The small congregation of ten families formed three years ago, and has been renting space in area schools to conduct their weekly service.
“We already have added adult Bible study classes, and we hope to start children’s Sunday school this coming year,” said Pastor Peter Chege. “We are so blessed and so excited to finally have a place of our own to expand our ministry.”
The church is the vision of Chege, a missionary who came to Charlottesville from Kenya eight years ago. His ministry focuses on meeting the spiritual and social needs of African refugees and immigrants who settle in the Charlottesville area. According to Chege, many arrive and are unable to speak English, unable to drive, and they need to find employment.
“The culture here is so different from village life in Africa. Our families have very practical, basic needs…like help filling out a job application, or transportation to a medical appointment or shopping” says Chege. “They also need encouragement and emotional support. Many are worried about their relatives back in Africa who are living in poverty, and in regions of social unrest and violence. So as a church, we are even helping our members learn skills they need to find jobs to support themselves and their families.”
The church has signed a “rent to own” agreement, and has three years to raise $100,000 to purchase the property. An additional $20,000 is needed to add a mobile home for children’s Sunday school and to secure a bus for those without transportation.
The congregation welcomes all visitors and new members. Sunday services include traditional African singing and dancing. The music, message and prayers are in Swahili, with English translation. Bible study is at 10:00 a.m. and services are at 11:00 a.m. at 3468 Gilbert Station Road (left turn off of Route 20 North).
Donations from the community are sought, and will be restricted to the purchase of the church property. Community volunteers are also needed to serve as mentors, drivers, and to help with fundraising. Contact Pastor Peter Chege at 434.760.5740 or [email protected].