I wasn’t sure until yesterday, but after reading the Saturday edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch there can be no doubt.
In the top right corner of the front page it said, “Virginia Jobless Rate is Lowest Since Dec. ’08.” That’s a sign, isn’t it? Apparently Virginia’s rate is the 11th best in the U. S., which means that people in this area have a better chance than most of getting and keeping a job.
Just below that item was an inch-high headline that read: “Plan Offered to Cut Richmond Poverty.” For years I’ve been saying that if you want to bring heaven to earth all you have to do is look around for something that doesn’t look like heaven and go to work. Well, poverty doesn’t look like heaven. In fact, it looks like the other place. And since September 9, when we began this year-long, every-member mission trip, we have been confronted by the evils of poverty again and again. How good it is to know that First Baptist is not alone in its efforts to do something about it!
Robert Zullo writes: “Capping nearly two years of work, the Anti-Poverty Commission assembled by Mayor Dwight C. Jones said Friday that Richmond should battle inner-city poverty by improving transportation options, workforce development, job creation, education and legislation and policy initiatives, among other recommendations” (read the full article by clicking HERE).
25 percent of the citizens of Richmond live below the poverty line. I’m glad to see that our mayor—a Baptist minister—is committed to making a difference for “the least of these,” Jesus’ brothers and sisters.
And then, in the top left corner of the front page, an item about eight outstanding women in Richmond. How delighted I was to turn to page B7 and discover that one of those women was our own Nancy Chewning! Look at what they said about her:
[Honored in the category of] Human Relations & Faith in Action: Nancy Chewning, who has filled many roles at Massey Cancer Center and First Baptist Church. At the church, she has been a deacon, choir member, mentor, lay reader and teacher. For the cancer center, she has been on the advisory board since 2008 and has worked for 18 years to increase funding for breast cancer research through Pink Ribbons of Hope. Through Circle of Friends, she has worked with more than 24 nonprofit organizations in the community. She has served on the boards of The Pregnancy Resource Center of Richmond, Virginia Baptist Homes and Elijah House Academy.
Now, there’s a woman who has been bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, for a long time. It’s wonderful to see her honored for it. Way to go, Nancy!
You can see why I was encouraged by what I read in yesterday’s paper.
It wasn’t all good news. The kingdom hasn’t come yet. But after reading the paper yesterday I felt more certain than I have in a while…