Local church celebrates students during pandemic

Local church celebrates students during pandemic

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A local church is shining a spotlight on students after having their schedules changed for the last few months of school due to the pandemic. Greater Peace Baptist Church usually has a celebration to highlight students achievements, but this year’s event looked a little bit different as they’re taking safety precautions.

Church members gathered Sunday afternoon to celebrate recent graduates including Kalena Mangum.

“It’s been difficult and hard not being able to do the big stuff that everybody else gets to do. Graduation. Prom,” Mangum said.

“We understand that our youth have had a tough time these last few months. We wanted to celebrate them and give them gifts to acknowledge all of their achievements,” said Senior Pastor Corey Neal.

Church members gave out gift bags to students at a drive-thru event.

“It’s a great big gesture for them to do this not only for me and graduates, but for all the kids,” Mangum said.

Pastor Neal says he wants students to get an educational component out of the celebration.

“In their bag they’ll have a book about African American men and women and their greatness to be able to share with us during February, Black History Month,” he said.

Mangum, who will be a freshman at Valdosta State in the fall majoring in psychology, says she has always had great support from the church while growing up. Neal says it’s especially important to continue that support during a pandemic.

“Extremely important to keep them connected. Making sure that they understand we still love them, appreciate them and are happy for all of their achievements and all they’ve done. We want to make sure that they understand that the church loves them and to stay out of trouble during this summer break,” Neal said.

Greater Peace Baptist Church is still holding their worship services virtually.

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