Sharpsburg's Roots of Faith rocks out in Grove City
A little piece of Sharpsburg, or rather 1,400 pieces, can be discovered 60 miles north of the borough in Grove City.
Western Pennsylvania United Methodist Bishop Cynthia-Moore Koikoi commissioned Roots of Faith, a Sharpsburg-based ministry of Faith United Methodist Church in Fox Chapel, to paint 1,200 rocks to be hidden in Grove City and at Grove City College for the Western Pennsylvania Conference, which began June 6.
Roots of Faith rocked by exceeding that commission with 200 extra pieces.
Kathleen Lipinski, director of Roots of Faith along Main Street, founded the rock-painting program, “Sharpsburg Rocks,” more than a year ago. A small group of people gather each week to paint stones with colorful images and hide them in the community for residents to find.
Lipinski said she was quite surprised when the bishop asked the small group to produce more than 1,000 hand-painted rocks in just about three weeks time — when they typically craft only 25 per week.
“The bishop found out that Roots of Faith and Sharpsburg Rocks are painting these amazing rocks, and she immediately wanted to know more,” Lipinski said. “This is a way to spread a little kindness and joy all while using them as an opportunity to get people talking about Sharpsburg.”
Lipinski made the drive to Erie to collect nearly 2,000 rocks to bring back to the Main Street ministry office.
She enlisted Facebook friends and members of the Fox Chapel Faith United Methodist Church for a mass production of painting, bringing in a crew of about 20 people.
Some people congregated at Roots of Faith while others took rocks home to complete.
“It took us just under three weeks to finish, and every single rock turned out amazing,” Lipinski said.
Faith United Methodist Associate Pastor Ben Phipps helped to paint about a dozen of the rocks. Just hours before the rocks shipped out, he, Lipinski and other Roots of Faith members spread the 1,400 rocks across the sidewalk on Eighth Street outside of the ministry's building.
As Phipps looked over the huge display, he studied the unique quality of each one.
“People really used these rocks to express themselves,” he said.
Phipps said he looks forward to the rocks getting in the hands of so many people across the state.
“The conference will include people from Erie, Waynesburg, parts of Johnstown and many other places,” he said. “So these rocks are going to be distributed to so many different people around Western Pennsylvania.”
Christine Manganas is a freelance writer.