On Saturday, October 6, almost 150 volunteers from across New England gathered at 184 Early Street to celebrate the Grand Opening of Envision Providence. As the latest site in the Envision global network, the Providence location joins more than 20 other sites dedicated to developing leaders who innovate, establish and strengthen communities of faith in urban environments.
The Grand Opening celebration brought together pastors, community leaders and volunteers from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Workers were divided into a dozen teams that spent four hours around the Elmwood neighborhood in Providence cleaning up the streets, city parks and community gardens. Afterwards, everyone gathered in the building and parking lot for a block party with inflatables for the kids, food, games and activities.
“These teams of volunteers drove hours each way to come serve on the streets of Providence,” exclaimed Robert Childs, Site Director for Envision Providence. “The churches of New England are committed to supporting our mission.” That mission includes offering short-term trips, internships, leadership development and ministry opportunities for churches throughout the region, all with the over-arching goal of providing resources and support for the marginalized communities within Providence. “Starting this Fall, Envision will host kids club (AWANA) programs and ESL classes for the people in this neighborhood. Our goal is to meet the immediate needs of this community, while bringing the peace and hope that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Childs added.
The event was organized in cooperation with local Providence-area ethnic churches: The International Alliance Church, Centro Cristiano de Adoracion, and Providence Hmong Church. The Envision program is a ministry of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, and the Providence site operates in conjunction with the New England District of the C&MA. More information on the site, the Fall programs, and how local churches can get involved with this ministry can be found at EnvisionProvidence.org.