Hampton church spreads message of peace
“Show the Dove,” a call to promote peace, is the theme this Lent at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Hampton.
It's also the message for motorists passing the church's new 16-foot-by-8-foot chalkboard sign — illustrated with a dove — on Ferguson Road in Hampton.
Anyone is welcome to stop and write a request for prayers or a message of peace — such as “love one another” — on the sign.
Sticks of sidewalk chalk are available at the sign for message writers.
“We're hoping people will pull into our parking lot, park their car and come over,” said church member Robb Montgomery, 55, of Ross, lead carpenter for the new sign, erected Feb. 20.
“People will be able to see it 24 hours a day, and whenever they're passing by, stop and write something on the board,” Montgomery said.
St. Paul's United Methodist Church also invites passers-by to snap “selfies” — pictures of themselves — by the dove sign, and then post their photos on social media.
The church plans to share people's prayer requests and peace messages on its Facebook page.
“We're trying to convey a message of peace throughout the North Hills, and we want everybody in the community to participate,” Montgomery said.
A goal is to encourage personal reflection during the 40 days of Lent, said Faith Geer, the church's administrative director.
“We were trying to think of a way to be more thoughtful,” Geer said. “We're asking people to stop and put their prayer requests on the board. What are the things you're concerned about? Why not give that over to God?”
The Prayer of St. Francis, which begins, “Lord make me an instrument of thy peace,” partly inspired the roadside dove sign, Geer said.
Church member Boyd Dawson, 77, of Hampton, painted the sign's white dove.
“I've never done anything this big,” Dawson, a retired mechanical engineer for PPG Industries, said about his 14-foot-by-6-foot white bird.
The sign will be available for prayer requests and messages of peace at least through Easter.
“If we see it's popular and being utilized, and the community is excited about it, we may leave it up longer,” Montgomery said.
It took eight sheets of plywood, 60 two-by-fours, and several hundred screws to build the sign and its supporting structure.
“The cool thing is that we'll be able to recycle everything,” Montgomery said. “We have a mission team that does projects for people.
“They'll be able to use the lumber.”
Deborah Deasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-772-6369 or email@example.com.