By the Rev. RJ Jun
My definition of being ‘missional’ is measured by how the faith community is being a blessing to the community, and further to the world. My impression of visiting Journey Community (Farmville District) https://www.jccenter.org/ left me with a heart of appreciation for how this faith community is becoming a blessing to the community in a unique and fascinating way!
In 2011, Journey Community started as a New Faith Community, sponsored by the Virginia Conference, with a specific focus on reaching out to the community. As this faith community is approaching its 11th anniversary, they have served the community in a variety of ways.
Journey Community started as a Thrift Store in 2009. It was run by volunteers and donations to serve the community. As the connection with the community members grew deeper, they saw the need to start a faith community, who can reach the people that were marginalized by the church and society. And in July of 2011, the new church began to worship with the appointment of the late Pastor Mike Davis.
Currently, the Rev. Betsey Davis is continuing the legacy and vision of her husband Mike, as a licensed local pastor and the president of Journey Community Board. Read more about Journey’s history at https://www.jccenter.org/about-us/timeline/
Journey is unique in serving the community through its Furniture store, Thrift shop, and Restaurant.
The Furniture barn opened Thursday – Saturday is a spot for the community to recycle usable furniture and provide the members in the community with usable furniture at an affordable price. Of course, all proceeds go back to meet the needs of the community.
The Thrift Store, opened Thursday to Saturday is a crucial connecting point with the community. Not only that people come into scavenger a hidden gem, but they also come to connect with the staff and volunteers. For some, this is the only place they have a meaningful connection with society. The relationships and need for connection Journey discovered was the driving force to start a new faith community.
Staffed by volunteers serving meals with a mission, the Journey Station Restaurant, open Thursday – Friday, is where people come to receive a warm meal and healing. While in the restaurant it reminded me about the story of Elijah being woken up by an Angel who prepares a meal for his journey ahead (1 King 19). The staff and volunteers prepared homemade meals, at a modest cost, for members of the community and travelers driving down Patrick Henry Highway. It is a stop by point for travelers and even becomes Juniper (broom) tree for people who are exhausted on their journey.
Project ahead – Transitional Home
Next to the church, there is an abandoned motel that the Journey community owns. Once a thriving motel has fallen into disrepair. As Journey Community started their plan to renovate the motel, they are renting the rooms out as storage facilities for the local crafters. The long-range vision for this space is to renovate the motel into transitional living spaces, to provide housing on a sliding scale. It will be a refuge for people who suffer from domestic violence or unhealthy situations. Transitional home for people stepping back into the society, and the possibilities are endless.
Journey has been selected as a 2022 recipient of the NOMAD ministries (https://www.nomadsumc.org/) of the United Methodist Church, which provides volunteer labor for renovation. If your church is looking for a UMVIM opportunity, Journey might be a great destination.
Journey is refinancing their mortgage at a low rate with the lender who is supportive of the ministry of Journey and even waived payments during COVID. As they renew their mortgage, they are fundraising to meet the terms of the mortgage. The goal for this capital campaign is $15,000. If they are able to raise $15,000 by February 15, 2022, every dollar given will be matched!
You can join in this effort by sharing your gifts with Journey. Journey Community is an Advance Special of the Virginia Conference. You may send your contribution to the Business Office (P.O. Box 5606 Glen Allen, VA 23058). Make the check payable to Virginia Annual Conference and put Journey Community (Advance #5009 in the memo line.
The Rev. RJ Jun with Dr. Maria Almond, director of Piedmont Health District, and the mobile vaccination clinic operated by Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Journey Community has been a partner with VDH in encouraging the community to get vaccinated.
The day I visited Journey Community was on the day they hosted a vaccination site for Amelia County. The trust and service that this faith community pours out to this community has been greatly appreciated and needs to continue! Your prayer, support through volunteering, and contributions will make this possible! And together, through the connectional system, we will continue to witness how God’s mission is done by God’s people!