Local organizations launch joint project

Published 1:50 pm Monday, January 29, 2018

AMERICUS — A growing relationship between two Americus organizations holds promise for improving the lives of individuals with mental illness and substance abuse problems. Perry Wellness Center, a local behavioral health wellness and recovery program, and Saint John’s Anglican Church are about to undertake a unique project which supports the missions of both organizations.
A bit of backstory: Perry Wellness Center has been utilizing gardening as a healthy learning activity for many of its peer members. Individuals raise their own produce in a series of raised garden beds on its campus in the historic district of Americus. Space is now at a premium. At the same time, Saint John’s Anglican Church has been completing its new building and campus on 10 rolling acres outside the city limits. Plans are underway to cover much of the acreage with miles of walking trails, football and soccer fields, and playground areas. These features will provide recreation for church families and also encourage others in the community to visit.
An intersection between the two organizations comes in the form of Stuart Perry, who both serves as founder and CEO of Perry Wellness Center and attends Saint John’s. Now the plans for growth in both organizations point to new opportunities for service. Their current project: building raised garden beds on a portion of the 10 acres the church occupies on Southland Road. These beds will be used to provide additional gardening space and learning experience for peers. Not only is space being donated by the church, but materials and hands-on building assistance are being provided by church members. It can only be a positive sign that the beds are slated to be located near the massive cross on the church grounds.
Work has already begun on both the beds and the overall development project. On an initial visit, several peers helped plant many shrubs on the grounds. Church members have donated supplies, created templates for the new garden bed constructions, and now put saw to board as the project takes shape.
In a recent meeting with Father Jim Parker, church rector, and church members Reggie Daniels and George Peagler, and Perry Wellness Center’s Perry, enthusiasm for the project was evident. Peagler explained, “We are into becoming a supportive partner for good in Americus, Sumter County, and our area. We want to be sure to provide information and love to help make every individual aware of God’s goodness. Our three-mile walking trail begins at the Cross. We hope that all who visit our grounds feels the love of God and this church.”
Added Daniels, who is project leader, “We are really into the mission and ministry of Perry Wellness Center for those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. We want to partner to build raised beds with peers. This is exciting and a learning experience for all who are involved.” He described the efforts of other church members in the project: “Phil Hardy designed prototypes for these beds, and Johnny Shiver shared his faith with a donation of all needed wood and materials to complete this project.”
Parker noted, “We are excited about our partnership of giving time, space, and planting and harvesting of vegetables with Perry Wellness Center. We hope that we can share the message of this unity and partnership by the grace of God.”
Finally, Perry expressed his own enthusiasm about the project, saying, “I was excited to find the caring and goodness of this church. I enjoy attending this church, and the other missions of the church are exactly what we want to share with our peers at Perry Wellness Center. Father Parker has invited our peers to attend services at the church. There are activities throughout the week, and we will work to see that we become involved with their mission of sharing the word of God and helping others.”
One organization works to save lives, while another works to save souls. Together, they can only have a profound impact on the lives of individuals in the community.