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Non-denominational church to offer outreach mission

November 21, 2003|GARY MOYERS

Jimmy Lehman is a man with a vision.

His vision includes a church that is open seven days a week, with community activities for adults and children.

The church he pastors, New Beginnings, is in the beginning stages of fulfilling that vision.

“I felt the call of God to start a new church, one that is nondenominational and open,” said Lehman, who is a loan officer with Cateret Mortgage Corp. during the week. “The people here are a potpourri of backgrounds. We have singles, marrieds, families - you name it, they come here.”

“Here” is on East Walnut Street near Stanford Avenue, and Lehman is quick to point out that the location for the new church is through the help of the building’s owners.

“Bob and Kathy Allen were generous enough to help us out when we needed a new location,” said Lehman. “I told them what I wanted to do here, and they wanted to help.”

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What Lehman wants to do is make New Beginnings an outreach mission. He has grand visions of a Kids Cafe, apartments to provide safe havens for people in transition, Friday night events for singles, teen outreach, and a lunch cafe to minister to retirees and disabled people.

“Big plans, I know,” said Lehman. “But they’re all doable, with the right people. Danville is a diverse town, and there are groups that need help. That’s what we want to do here.”

New Beginnings began in 2001 as New Beginnings Community Church meeting at the West T. Hill Community Theater. But this summer the Old Corner Grocery Store, owned by the Allens, became available, and the church moved.

Now, the regular congregation of approximately 20 people meets every Sunday morning at 10:10, joined by an ever-changing group of visitors.

“We welcome everyone,” said Lehman, who attended Asbury Seminary. “We deliver a serious message in a casual atmosphere. We want you to come here on Sunday the same way you are during the week.”

Lehman admits his plans — “A church building should be used every single day” — will need community help.

“We’re looking for people who want to reach out to Danville,” he said. “My talents are administrative, and I hope I’m a good teacher and counselor, but I need people who want to reach out to these teens, the kids, the elderly, everyone in town. We’ve got the facilities — we need people with talents.”

The facilities include a grill-like restaurant area, a large open area with a good sound system, and living quarters upstairs. Lehman said the church contains all the items needed to do the outreach ministry activities.

“I would love to see this building full every day and night with people from all walks of life,” he said.

He’s not shy about asking for people to help.

“I don’t call them volunteers, I call them servants,” he said. “We’re looking for people who want to serve the Lord by serving their neighbors, the ones who need help, or just need a place for fellowship with others. We don’t care where they go to church, and we’re not competing with other churches. I would love for some of the smaller churches in the area who need a place like this for activities to come to us.”

Lehman envisions several outreach ministries

The outreach ministries Lehman envisions include:

* Fellowship: a Sunday morning gathering in a casual atmosphere where the Word of God is shared and lived out in the lives of its people.

* Kids Cafe: Ministry to children ages 7-11 on Sunday nights, filled with food, games and learning.

* Ricky Martin House: Four apartments used to provide a safe haven for people in transition by providing short-term accommodations. The project is named for a man who Lehman says once helped him.

* 12/20: Teen outreach for the 12-20 age group featuring Saturday night concerts and events.

* SOSA: Single or Single Again, this group would hold Friday night events including music, food and fellowship for singles in the area.

* 4 Winds Cafe: Open weekdays for lunch, this ministry would provide assistance to retired and disabled persons.

* The Eunuch’s Place: a library of books, tapes, videos and other positive literature available for check out.

Two local Girl Scout troops currently use the building on Monday evenings, and Lehman said similar groups are welcome.

Persons or groups wishing to volunteer, or “serve,” as Lehman says, may contact him at (859) 324-0810.

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