The Rev. Curtis Bishop pointed to a terribly buckled carpet in his church sanctuary and talked about the need to level a sagging floor.
He explained the necessity for new light fixtures and a fresh coat of paint and emphasized that an up-to-code wheelchair ramp is a must.
Landscaping work is badly needed.
But it is not just the main building and the grounds around Shiloh Baptist Church in Phenix City that needs renovation.
A brick structure, a church annex next door on 14th Avenue, is used now for storage and as a fellowship hall but Bishop has much bigger plans for it once renovation is done.
On April 24, Frontline Families, a national service program run by Points of Light and in conjunction with the American Red Cross at Fort Benning, is hosting a day of labor at the church. Part of the project is being funded by a grant from the nonprofit Got Your 6.
The purpose of Frontline Families is to train military members and veterans to become volunteer leaders in the community. Red Cross serves as a host site here for the Points of Light organization, which falls under the AmeriCorps footprint.
Work will begin at 10 a.m. Monday and all volunteers will be welcome.
“This is work that will benefit this neighborhood and more,” said Christina Phillips of the American Red Cross.
Bishop, 53, who has served in the military and law enforcement, became the pastor at Shiloh Baptist in August. He said the Holy Spirit brought him to this place of worship.
And he wants his “growing church,” now 140 years old, to play a key role in revitalizing the community.
“The church should be the center point of a community,” Bishop said. “We must meet the needs of the people. The church is more than four walls, a place to come to on Sunday. Outreach is important.”
He would like to turn the church annex into a resource center, working in partnership with other churches and local agencies. He wants to have a place people can come to for help with food, shelter, transportation, etc.
“We want to be a resource center for those in Phenix City,” Bishop said. “We want to provide help. If it is a service we can’t provide, we want to be able to tell people where they can get what they need.”
He added, that at this time, it is more important than ever for churches in this country to take an active role in their communities.
Bishop said the work at his church is “way overdue” and wants the place to be more inviting for those seeking a place to worship.
“I think this renovation is needed so we can begin the work we plan to do,” he said. “We feel blessed by the help we are being offered. By the grace of God we got a grant that will help cover the cost.”
He said generous donations of materials are being made.
“It is going to be a great day, which will get us started on our plans,” he said. “We will welcome anyone who wants to be a part of what we are doing.”