Volunteer Corner

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 15, 2004

Alexander reaches out

LAPLACE – Pastor Vernon Alexander tends to a full plate of activities each week as he goes about his business in the community. He is the full-time leader of the St. Peter Baptist Church in Edgard; a part of a ministerial group that visits Twin Oaks Nursing Home twice a week; and performs other various volunteer work that takes him out of the church and into the community.

Alexander came to Twin Oaks in 2000, when his father Joseph, Sr., and Joseph Jr. were both residents there. He saw the need for a worship service for the residents and was encouraged by his family.

He then talked to the home’s activity director about his idea. “I asked if it would be alright for us to render our services,” said the LaPlace resident.

“Whether a person is sitting in the congregation, confined to their home, or residing in a facility, they need the Word of God. He has a message for everyone.”

The services at the nursing home are delivered as they would be at St. Peter Baptist Church. “We come in and worship – we pray, sing, read the scriptures and deliver a sermon,” he said. “It is very similar to our regular Sunday service.”

Bringing the church to the people at Twin Oaks is one way to show the sick and elderly that God hasn’t forgotten about them, he added.

The ministerial group was welcomed in a big way when it first began. “They were very receptive,” said Alexander, of the home’s residents. “Their hearts were wide open.”

And they continue to stay that way. Each of the bi-weekly services are enjoyed by at least two dozen people, each of them gaining something from the ceremonies. “They say we are doing a wonderful job in bringing a spiritual atmosphere,” said Alexander. “They receive us joyfully.”

As for the residents that aren’t able to voice their appreciation of the Ministerial Group, they may show it in other ways – the expressions on their faces, by clapping or raising their hands, etc., he added.

Although his volunteer duties take up quite a bit of time away from the church, Pastor Alexander always finds quality time with his wife Yvonne, five children, 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Service to others has numerous benefits, according to this busy man. “I am inspired, fulfilled. I feel like it has been a good day.”

Advice to others contemplating volunteer work is to realize that it will definitely add something to their life. But they must do some soul-searching first.

“It takes faith to do this kind of work. You’ve got to believe that this is what you should be doing,” he said. “If you believe you can do it, you can.”