The Berea church in Nyack, New York, held its seventh Pastors Appreciation and Charitable Appreciation Community Service Leadership Award Outreach Program, in collaboration with the church’s Communication department. The event took place on October 29, 2020, at the Nyack Seaport Restaurant by the Hudson River.
Notwithstanding a series of events informing the social justice terrain around the world in 2020, they planned the event by recognizing the efforts within their local context. A unique idea arose for this year’s theme, since they could not go to Washington, D.C., in support of George Floyd and the “Get Your Knee off My Neck Rally.”
Someone said, “Let’s do what we can locally.” It is against this backdrop of information that the church decided to show appreciation for the work of their church pastor Andrew Philbert and the work of Toney Earl, Rockland County District 8 Legislator, for his tireless service to the West Street Child Care Learning Center, the organization that was identified as the charitable recipient for 2020.
The church thought it would be fitting to focus their community outreach program on the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. The saying goes: “Charity begins at home and then spread abroad.” Dana Swann, one of the church’s young-adult members, delivered an inspiring message using that subject. The audience responded to the message and was motivated to do more to enhance God’s mission.
Spencer Chiimbwe, chair of the Berea church’s Communication department, briefed the congregation on the function of the department. Five-year-old Sean Dixon and 11-year-old Weldon McWilliams V took great pride in introducing their grandfather, Toney Earl, the evening’s honoree. Chiimbwe presented Earl with a plaque in appreciation for his untiring service to the community, both as former chair of the Rockland County Legislature and as a volunteer serving the West Street Child Care Learning Center.
Church member Natalie Patasaw, in her statement of purpose, conveyed the Berea church family’s deepest appreciation to Pastor Philbert for his unwavering commitment to the church. “We thank you, Pastor Philbert, from a place deep within our hearts straight to your heart, for all you do in ministering to us and serving the Lord God. May you and your family always be blessed,” Patasaw said. Philbert warmly greeted everyone and spent quality time in fellowship with groups at each table.
—Communication department, Berea church, Nyack, New York