…let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us… -Hebrews 12:1b
Eastern Virginia is not naïve to the race scene in the state. With flat, winding roads around historic architecture and beautiful, water views, adrenaline-junkies flock to the shore to find some of the best races with pristine conditions. This March, the city of Newport News, Virginia will host one of its largest gatherings of racers and health-enthusiasts alike as they put on a three-day festival surrounding the One City Marathon.
The inaugural event was held last year and drew nearly 6,000 spectators, 800 volunteers and 2,600 runners over the 4 races offered: a traditional marathon (26.2), a relay marathon with 2-4 partners to conquer 26.2, an 8k race and a one-miler for kids of all ages.
With a flood of people coming from all over to enjoy the races and events, Rev. Clark Desarro-Raynal and Hilton Presbyterian Church came up with a plan to participate in the event. The two main race paths come straight down Main Street where the church is located. Hilton Presbyterian will meet during their regular worship hour with banners, noise makers, and signs to cheer on the runners of the race. They have planned to move their worship service to 3pm in the afternoon. “This is a great way to share our joy in Christ with our neighbors and the whole city”, Clark remarked.
The proceeds benefit three local charities whose collective mission is to serve and protect victims and families affected by sexual abuse and domestic violence, an incredibly important justice issue for this community and for the faith leaders in the area. Hilton Pres. members decided this was an important mission to support as a congregation whose building stands on one corner with three other denominations of the Protestant church within a stone’s throw.
Last year, the congregation gathered to support the first annual races and it turned out to be a huge success. Parishioners showed up in great numbers to cheer on the racers with signs of encouragement. As the success of the race continues to grow, there is no doubt that Hilton Presbyterian will continue to cheer on those running the races, year after year, while sharing joy and love to the community.
Are there opportunities for your congregation to support local events or festivals in an effort to share the love of Christ with others?
Nicole C. Ball, Church Relations Officer