As Irma creeps closer to the continental United States, plans to celebrate Bayside Community Church’s 15th anniversary have been pushed back to instead come to the aid of the community.
Postponing the celebration “wasn’t even a question,” Kirstin Becnel, communications director for Bayside Community Church said.
“Our heart is ready and prepared to respond to the needs in the community and respond to the needs of those that we may need to partner with,” Becnel said. “It’s not about Bayside, it’s about being the hands and feet of Christ.”
Planning for exactly what the church would be doing was still occurring Wednesday, the plan would unfold over the next few days. The church’s website also hosted a link for those interested in signing up to help with any and all efforts the church would provide.
Bayside is no stranger to organizing community assistance efforts. Just last weekend, the church sent volunteers to the Centre Lake subdivision in Sarasota to help residents whose homes had been flooded after heavy rains. They made food and provided water to residents and other volunteers, as well has helped clear items both destroyed and salvageable out of homes.
Several homeowners that spoke with the Herald that day said they were grateful for the help.
The church also sent a group of volunteers and a truck full of supplies to Houston, to aid in the response to Hurricane Harvey which dumped more than 40 inches of rain in southern Texas.
“The heart and passion from all the volunteers there is just amazing ,” Becnel said.
Becnel noted it’s all part of the church’s mission to be a people and community-focused church.
“We will be there for our community, that is not an option,” Becnel said.
Bayside started 15 years ago on Sept. 8, 2002, in Bashaw Elementary School.
“We named it Bayside Community Church because we always wanted to be a church that was for the community, so exactly like in times like this to be able to love and support people and be the type of church God intended us to be,” Becnel said.
Bayside’s congregation opened it’s first permanent facility in 2010 at 15800 S.R. 64 E., Bradenton. The church has since grown to six campuses in three counties — Manatee, Sarasota and Hardee. The first permanent facility is now known as the East Bradenton campus.
The celebration of the church’s 15th anniversary have not yet been rescheduled, but those interested in helping with outreach programs can visit the church’s website, mybayside.church. The church will also share plans and volunteer opportunities on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
“We can postpone and we can celebrate not just what God has done with Bayside in the last 15 years but what God’s going to do in the community,” Becnel said.
Due to the approaching Hurricane Irma, many churches are canceling weekend services. Call your church before heading out in dangerous conditions.