Christ calls us to be his presence, and these ministries are our attempt to be faithful to that call. Our desire is to be his hands and feet in our community. As you read about these ministries, please pray for those involved. As you pray, God may call you to action. If so, there is a place for you in service here. To find out more, contact us at (314) 533-7340.
The Paul Sasser Relief Fund helps church members and our neighbors who are experiencing financial difficulties, including eviction, utility disconnection, inability to pay for prescriptions and transportation problems. Money from the fund also provides hospitality for those unable to pay for Wednesday night dinners at church. A special offering is taken for the Sasser fund on the first Sunday of every month, at the conclusion of worship.
Third's Food Pantry is open on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 10:30am. The church partners with the St. Louis Area Foodbank to provide the groceries. No advance registration is required to participate. The pantry is located on the church's ground floor.
About 15 church members volunteer at Cole E-mints Academy nearby through a program called KidsHope USA, which pairs churches with local public schools. Our mentors meet with their KidsHope children once a week for one hour and offer encouragement, help with academics and mostly importantly, love. A prayer partner is assigned to each mentor and child. The church also lifts up the school in prayer and supports the teachers throughout the year.
Our 3-B Tutoring program meets on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Rose Holman Learning Center on the fourth floor of the church. The program serves students from the region's public, charter and parochial schools. Tutors are volunteers, mainly students from nearby St. Louis University and church members. They help students with homework, reading, math and other skills. The learning center has a computer lab that is equipped with Orchard educational software and has Internet access. Another bonus: Basketball and other recreation at night's end.
CityArts provides music lessons and arts programs for children in our neighborhood and church family. The program's goal is to bring arts instruction to children who might not have an opportunity to take lessons elsewhere. In addition to private lessons, CityArts has provided an arts component for the Rockwood School District's SMART Academy, which meets at Third Baptist in July. At the 2009 SMART Academy, CityArts partnered with COCA, Portfolio Gallery and Jazz St. Louis for afternoons of dance, art, drama and music.
In November 2008, about 30 Third Baptist volunteers fanned out in our neighborhood and conducted interviews at non-profits, churches, hospitals, schools and government offices within a one-mile radius. Their goal was to discover the needs, strengths and opportunities in our neighborhood so that our church could better discern God's call for community ministry. The resulting Community Assessment was used by our Community Ministries Team to shape the church's ministries in the following year. Here are some of the community partnerships that resulted from Assessment Day: