ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -
An African church congregation in Albemarle County has found a new home just in time for the holidays. Now they are reaching out to the community for help to buy the property and expand the reach of their ministry.
About 10 families make up the founding congregation of the Africa Lighthouse Baptist Temple. The group formed three years ago and rented space in area schools for Sunday service until the opportunity for a new space came in November.
The church opened the doors to its building on Gilbert Station Road Sunday morning for a service filled with traditional African singing and dancing. The music and prayers were spoken in Swahili and translated in English.
Founding Pastor Peter Chege's ministry focuses on supporting African refugees and immigrants who settle in central Virginia. He says the new property gives them a chance to relax and grow.
“This building gives us identity. It gives us a home where we can come, our kids can be kids, they can play soccer. We don't have to be on a timer. The city was good to us, but we were on a timer,” Chege stated.
The church has signed a rent-to-own agreement and needs to raise $100,000 over the next three years to buy the land. Pastor Chege says they've already saved about $5,000 to put toward the goal.
Anyone that's interested can attend a Sunday service starting at 11 a.m., or email Pastor Chege. Besides donations, the church is looking for mentors to help members of the congregations with tasks such as speaking English, learning how to drive, and finding employment.
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