Pine Glen Ministries pulls back from Craig FieldPublished 10:39pm Saturday, September 21, 2013
By Jay Sowers
The Selma Times-Journal
A few local volunteers, hoping to provide a safe place for underprivileged children to play and learn about the teachings of the Bible, may have learned a harsh and unfortunate lesson themselves.
Pine Glen Ministries, run by Selma’s Church Street United Methodist Church, had offered Bible studies for young children at their location in Pine Glen Estates at Craig Field, until vandals recently destroyed the property.
Joy Thompson, facilities coordinator at Church Street UMC, said she has been volunteering with teachers and other members of the community for nearly two decades, but said the recent break-in ruined the building and made it unsafe to continue.
“We got there two weeks ago to set up for Bible school and the windows were all broken, our things are scattered everywhere and the appliances were all gone,” Thompson said some of the destruction left behind is nothing short of staggering.
“We have holes in the sheet rock as big as I am,” Thompson said. “We had to closets of supplies that they couldn’t get in, so they broke into another apartment and busted to the sheetrock to get in there.
“It wasn’t children that broke in here.”
Trying to not strike a defeated tone, Thompson admitted it would be hard to continue to work with the children at Craig Field.
“We love those children and were just trying to help, but we have gotten the message,” Thompson said.
Caroline Anderson, who also volunteered at the Pine Glen Ministries location, said she cannot comprehend the motivation to destroy a place used for nothing more than keeping children safe.
“It was just a little Bible study that would also have crafts and snacks for the children,” Anderson said.
“It just breaks my heart.”
Even though this wasn’t the first time the building had been broken into, and even though the group would often have men standing guard outside during the Bible study classes, Thompson said the severity of this act is different than anything they have faced before.
“This was a threat. It’s a shame because they are hurting their own children,” Thompson said.
“We weren’t trying to influence or change anybody, we were just trying to give the children a safe place to read books and color and play.
“Right now, we just don’t have a plan for what’s next. We are just praying and waiting to see what happens,” Thompson said.