Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Calvary church Prison Ministries team

Calvary Connects With Community Over Chess

Story by LaTasha Hewitt

The Prison Ministries team at Allegheny East Conference's Calvary church in Newport News, Va., partnered with its youth mentoring ministry to play chess at the Newport News Juvenile Detention Center this past fall. The activity was part of the “Play Chess, Change Lives” initiative, an interactive outreach program founded by Don Roberts of WAVY TV, an NBC affiliate in Newport News. The program is designed to engage young men and women in critical thinking. “Our hope is for the young residents to use the skills learned from the game to make better life choices,” shares Rudy Ortega, elder and outreach coordinator at Calvary.

Roberts shared encouraging words, Ortega followed with prayer and they and others then transformed the facility into a game room. Calvary members sat down at tables to play card games and chess with local residents and other attendees. “As you drew closer to each table, you could hear words of inspiration being exchanged, and witness smiles softening faces in the room, as generational gaps were closed and the love of Jesus touched hearts … and all from a game of chess,” says Ortega.

Following the event, Calvary’s Prison Ministries team members partnered with the community service team to distribute more than 90 bags of groceries to their neighbors in the Newport News community.

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