Take a walk with Jesus

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 10, 2003

VIDALIA &045; Reaching out to those in need and educating people about Jesus are the two main missions of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd.

The former residence turned church on Concordia Street boasts of more than 45 regular attendees. The congregation takes pride in the things they have been able to accomplish in their 10 short years as an outreach mission.

From mission trips to Honduras and the Dominican Republic to setting up a place for home-schooled students to feeding the community through the Stew Pot in Natchez and Feed the Hungry in Vidalia, church members keep their eyes on ways to outreach.

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&uot;We do some exciting things here,&uot; said Dr. Bob Barnes, church council member and treasurer.

Barnes and his wife, Bettina, have dedicated the last seven years of their retirement life traveling to Trinidad, Honduras, and Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, to deliver medicines and treat the ill. Bob was a general practitioner and surgeon, and Bettina was a child psychologist. During their time in mission trips the couple has met many people who are grateful for the help they bring to their impoverished area.

&uot;Once there was a father who walked for two days to get medicine for his daughter,&uot; Barnes said.

One of the projects set for construction at the church is a one-acre Stations of the Cross walking path.

The path running along the edge of the seven-acre property will have 14 areas, or stations, where people can stop, sit down on a bench and meditate in front of a little chapel housing woodcarvings from a Honduran craftsman.

&uot;This is a big project for a little church,&uot; Barnes said.

During one of their trips to Honduras, Barnes said they saw these beautiful mahogany woodcarvings inside the church cathedrals.

Barnes said several friends in Honduras recommended a skilled Christian woodcarver. They met carver Marvin Iovani Orellana and commissioned a piece and presented it to church council members.

&uot;They liked it, so I negotiated with him for 14 pieces. This man does absolutely incredible work,&uot; he said.

The woodcarver lives on mountains of San Luis in Santa Barbara, Honduras. Barnes said it will take him two to three years to complete all the carvings. Each of the 14 pieces will be place securely inside a chapel-like box and placed near the benches along the walking path.

Each of the woodcarvings will depict different biblical scenes. Each one is being purchased by an individual or family and donated to the project.

&uot;The 14 scenes are from Jesus’ walk to Calvary,&uot; Bettina Barnes said.

Bob Barnes said this outreach project serves to provide a safe and peaceful place for people to walk, while educating them about the sacrifice and miracle of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

&uot;It will be a beautiful spot when we get it finished,&uot; he said.