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Worldvision, R.A.I.N. repair Parkchester church’s hall

The church hall at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Parkchester got some much needed painting and repairs from diligent volunteers.

Pealing paint and exposed plaster had dotted the walls of the multipurpose gym and fellowship hall at the church on 1981 McGraw Avenue for several years due to the budget priorities of the church.

A crew that included volunteers Ron Carson and R.A.I.N.’s Hearts and Hammers, World Vision, and Youth With A Mission did the work free-of-charge. They painted the 90 foot by 40 foot hall, the gym with a ceiling 30 feet high, a stage, kitchen, and stairwell.

The crew worked for two days, painting and cleanup. All of the borrowed equipment was returned to World Vision’s Port Morris warehouse on Friday, December 17. Pastor Fernando Otero said that the hall, built in 1947, needed to be painted after around 25 years of only minimal maintenance.

“Because of hard economic times particularly hitting the community we serve hard, we have run into trouble maintaining the building,” Otero said. “We weren’t looking for a hand out, but a hand up. Thanks to Ron Carson and Hearts and Hammers, World Vision and Youth With A Mission we are well on our way.”

The church hall is of vital importance to the congregation and the entire Parkchester community, Otero said. He said that two A.A.R.P. groups meet there, as well as the Parkchester Branch of the NAACP, girl scouts, an Alcoholics Anonymous program, and self-defense classes for women. Community Board 9 meetings have also been hosted there, he said.

The church is currently also home to a day care center and an after-school program. The hall is leased out for receptions after baptisms and weddings, as well as for birthday parties and other special events.

The project brought in about 20 youth who spent a whole day at the church. Youth With A Mission, a Christian missionary organization that sends young people out to parish churches, includes youth from the United States, as well as England, Japan, South Korea, and all over the world.

“They painted and beautified the very large parish hall that has been neglected for some time,” Otero said.

R.A.I.N.’s Heart and Hammers normally does charity repairs of churches and the homes of seniors in need every June, but program board member Ron Carson was able to utilize some of the agency’s equipment for the project this fall.

A church member told him of the parish hall while on a mission trip. The church wanted to open it up to the community and keep young people off the streets and out of mischief.

“I do these things all of the time, and I just see it as Gods work,” Carson said. “I grew up in the Bronx and I did well for myself. I love doing it when I give back to your community, it is wonderful. When you can do that, what can be better than that?”

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