Page 9 - Discover Summer 2020
P. 9

Nourished & Nurtured

                                                                    With Love

                                                                                                By Kate Hofstetter

               In the Greek language, agape (pronounced                From its modest beginnings, the Agape
        ah gah pay) means unconditional love or charity.        Center soon out-grew its basement space. It
        Not charity in the sense of sharing material goods      moved to a leased property in old Moneta, and
        with the poor, as we typically think, but rather a      became an independent 501c3 corporation. Once
        selflessness and concern for the good of others         again, in 2012 it out-grew its space, and made the
        without expecting anything in return. It is not         move to its current location at 1159 Promised
        borne out of emotions or attraction but from            Land Road in Moneta. It now occupies 27,000
        the will, and as a choice. It requires faithfulness,    square feet in what was once a dress factory, years
        commitment and sacrifice.                               ago. Today, a total of 18 local churches support
                                                                and are members of the center.
               Shortly after moving to this area from
        northern Virginia, Sue Lipscomb, who brought                   “We serve between 900 to 950 families a
        with her over 20 years’ experience managing             month,” Sue said, “Or nearly 3,000 individuals, if
        busy real estate offices, took-on an even bigger        you average three people per family.”
        task for which she doesn’t get paid a penny. Her
                                                                       Expanding on that old adage of teaching
        payment, she says, is greater than money. Sue is
                                                                a man to fish instead of just giving him fish, the
        the executive director of  one of the area’s largest
                                                                center strives to show its clients how to take
        and fastest growing nonprofit organizations: the
                                                                control of their lives through spiritual enrichment,
        Agape Center at Smith Mountain Lake.
                                                                along with classes on nutrition, sewing, budgeting
               It got its start in the basement of Radford      and other life skills. They also offer a “Getting
        Baptist Church in Moneta, as the vision of              Ahead” class which consists of two classes weekly
        Courtney Carr and Emily Donnelly-Back. It               over a 9 week period. Besides dealing with just
        was still in its infancy when Sue signed up as          financial poverty, the conquering of “spiritual
        a volunteer in 2004. It wasn’t long, before the         poverty” and “relationship poverty” are addressed.
        dream-that-became-reality blossomed into
                                                                       “Situational poverty is not what gives us
        its own thriving community. Over the years,
                                                                the largest number of clients,” Sue explains. “It is
        the center has proven many times over that it
                                                                generational poverty that affects the most people.”
        stays true to its name. It took unconditional
                                                                Agape’s volunteers instruct their clients on how
        love to shore-up its foundation, just like it took
                                                                to break this cycle, by attending to more than just
        unconditional love to build its membership.
                                                                physical needs.
        Unconditional love expanded the volunteer base
        to its current total of 400 or more dedicated souls,           The Agape Center’s mission as stated on
        and unconditional love is dished out every week         its website is: “To reflect God’s love by giving of
        to hundreds of local families.                          ourselves and our resources, as we submit to the
                                                                leadership of the Holy Spirit to mentor and help

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