Ministry on the Margins at Critz

We came to the Critz Church of God in September of 2010. Since then, we have changed the name to The Gathering Place @ Critz. We are located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Critz, VA. We are in the country, about halfway between Martinsville and Stuart. Critz is an absolutely beautiful place with the mountains in the background!

When we came to the church, we had twelve people and the church was on the verge of being closed by the state office. After prayerful consideration, we knew that this was God and we made the decision to leave Florida and return to our home state to pastor the church.

Now a congregation of about fifty, we have a small footprint in our community, which consists mainly of orchards and farms. Over the years, we have done many different types of outreach in an effort to better serve the people in our community and the surrounding areas. Our community is plentiful with several denominational churches that serve the area in many different capacities.

We had a regular food pantry that helped to serve the community, but found that there were others much larger and very close-by doing the same. We did children’s outreach through Vacation Bible School and weekend gatherings.

We have a small youth group that have come to know and love the Lord. We built a fire pit for them to “hang out” by and make s’mores. They absolutely love being together! We have taken them to Kids Konnection in Washington DC, ran by Terri Mullin, to minister to at-risk youth in the projects at Christmas time. My wife and I have been there numerous times with various groups since 1998. The church as a whole gathers toys and for the last two years we have been able to get a supply of toys from Toys for Tots to bring with us. This is an awesome experience for our youth and the adults that participate. There is nothing like seeing the smile of a child receiving possibly the only gift they will get at Christmas. It has been life changing for our youth as well as the adults who go with us!

We have recently partnered with a church in the town of Collinsville, which is thirty minutes from us. Community Fellowship, pastored by Michael Harrison, works with the homeless in our area, has a transition home, and is renovating an old factory to provide a place for the homeless. The number of homeless continues to grow in our area and even more so in recent months. The Lord began to deal with me about this, having had two years’ experience working with the homeless in Portsmouth, VA, under the pastorate of Bishop Frank Allen.

I began to research and get some ideas. After conversations with Pastor Michael, we came up with the idea to put together backpack type bags that would have supplies to help the homeless. These are vinyl so as to keep things dry and they are able to close them up with a drawstring. We place items like deodorant, soap, shampoo, q-tips, wet wipes, etc. in them that can use for hygiene. Also, we put in some sort of snack, nabs, package of nuts, or a granola bar. It is something that the congregation, from the children to adults, are a part of and it gives them the satisfaction of being a part of something larger than themselves.

Being a hand extended outside the four walls of our church to the hurting has become a great encouragement for us all! I am excited to see where this partnership in the Kingdom will lead!

It is the goal of our congregation to bring “hope, healing, and restoration” to the people we minister to, one life at a time!

Pastors Roger and Louann Moore

The Gathering Place @ Critz