For 15 years, 15 acres of wooded land owned by Community Christian Reformed Church in Roselawn, Ind., had gone mostly unused. Now it is attracting the neighbors every day, thanks to the fitness trail built by church members.
The trail winds through trees and a meadow and is open to the community all day, every day. Donations helped cover the cost, and many local volunteers and church members also donated their time and talents to create the trail. One young man, who spent lots of time riding his dirt bike through the woods behind the church, used his days off to map out and clear a pathway. A personal trainer set up workout routines for each piece of equipment that four young men from the church built.
“This project has been healthy for our church,” said Thriesa Hubers, the church member who organized and managed the project. “It required a variety of talents and volunteers, took coordinated effort, and resulted in strong ownership of the project.”
Hubers explained that the trail serves as outreach, a place for anyone to exercise and enjoy God’s creation. “A primary purpose of the trail was to bless the community around our church with a venue for healthy, outdoor, family-friendly activity. The church is salt in the community, and this is an opportunity we can share the flavor of Christ in a nonthreatening way. We’re letting our actions pave the way for future conversations,” she said.
The trail is used every day. While Hubers was out maintaining the grounds, she met two women who told her they meet there every day to walk and talk. Another man walks the trail frequently. Hubers says he does it to check that all is well, but he’s also been told by his doctor and wife to keep his 80-year-old heart healthy.
One man works out on the trail every day. “When we needed help carrying a heavy display bench out of the lobby,” Hubers explained, “he gladly helped, saying, ‘This is my first time in a church.’”
One evening as Hubers was leaving the church after praise team practice, she stopped to observe four teenagers working out on the trail by the light of the security light. “Noisy teen sounds and loud music to motivate them. I’m so glad it’s being used by the neighborhood!”
About the Author
Callie Feyen is a writer living in Ann Arbor, Mich. She attends First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. Callie writes news for The Banner and contributes to Coffee+Crumbs, and T.S. Poetry Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet, and Twirl: My Life in Stories, Writing, & Clothes.