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Chesapeake Churches Collaborate to Open New Community Center in Salisbury

Three Chesapeake Conference churches celebrated the grand opening of the Newton Street Community Center in Salisbury, Maryland on June 18 in a ceremony attended by the mayor of Salisbury, Jacob Day. The new community center is the result of a joint collaboration between the Park, Beacon of Light and Salisbury Spanish churches in Salisbury, Maryland, Adventist Community Services (ACS) Chesapeake and the city of Salisbury. 

The Newton Street Community Center will be used as a food pantry and as a center for youth and children’s programs and activities, including FLAG Camp and Pathfinders. Additional plans are underway to host a community health fair and hold practical seminars on topics such as personal finance and health. 

The city of Salisbury agreed to allow the three Chesapeake Conference churches in Salisbury to use the community center for free, even covering the costs of utilities and insurance, as well as helping to fund various programs.  

“My church members are so excited for this outreach opportunity,” says Cesar Gonzalez, pastor of the Beacon of Light church. “This has given the congregation a new spark. God was there waiting for us to ask and here it is.”

In February, Gonzalez emailed the city of Salisbury inquiring about service opportunities for his church. The city quickly replied that there was a new community center ready to open but that they needed community partners to run the programs after the original partners backed out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gonzales reached out to Greg Carlson, pastor of the Park church, and Jean Pierre, pastor of the Salisbury Spanish church, and after meeting with their church boards, the three Salisbury churches decided to partner together to run programs out of the new community center. 

“At ACS Chesapeake we love our neighborhoods,” says Ignacio Goya, ACS director for Chesapeake Conference. “And we pray this community center will transform many hearts and soon we will see the results in the name of Christ.”

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