DARLINGTON—On Dec. 3, St. John United Methodist Church, a member of the Hartsville District Cooperative Parish, held a dedication service for their fully equipped gymnasium.
This non-regulation gym of the multipurpose facility at the church needed to become a place where members and the surrounding community could come to work their faith, work out and enjoy fellowship in an atmosphere of praise and devotion.
The vision of former pastor, the Rev. Zachary Dillard, the gym is a place of outreach for wellness in the community. Dillard knew it is imperative to take power as a faith organization to organize and support behavioral change necessary for the mind, spirit and body of God’s people.
Dillard returned to his old church family for the dedication and to remind everyone that a healthy body promotes a healthy mind, as it reverberates through the love of God and Christ.
Dillard and a committee of dedicated members researched and wrote a grant that stated the rationale and purpose for a church site that would encompass and embrace the need for physical activity to improve not only body health, but also provide stimulation for much needed mental health awareness. Funded by the James L. Belin Trust of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, the door was opened by supportive grant partners who understood the connection and uplift that a fully equipped gym would provide. Their belief in the foundation that an equipped gym would afford gave the necessary motivation to continue with the dream.
Belin funds allowed St. John to create an environment to accommodate more sports activities. Treadmills, stationary bikes, free weights, jump ropes, volleyball, a walking space and basketball goals are some of the equipment and physical activities that the gym is proud to display and use.
The dedication paved the way for the community to be made aware of the facility, as well as celebrate the accomplishment of a vision and its completion.
Dr. Reginald Lee, St. John’s current pastor, is a proud advocate for physical and mental health awareness. He sees this as the beginning for a progressive church that is on the move to meet the basics of a community at their point of need.
With technology and a fully loaded gym, their next step will be a vision for the congregation and community to have a space that is not only a temple for disciples of Christ, but a respite for those who want and need to feel the strength of God’s love.