Some believe that attending a Project VISION meeting is a moving experience. Now, the Project VISION meeting experience is about to have a moving experience of its own.
For seven years, Project VISION, a community-based organization originally created to respond to the heroin epidemic in the Rutland area, has been meeting at Alliance Community Fellowship Church at the Howe Center.
But the church, known as ACF, is moving and can no longer host the VISION meetings, Pastor Erron Hubbell told the attendees at the monthly meeting on Thursday.
Hubbell said he and the ACF community are dedicated to VISION and its mission, however, so they found a new home for VISION to meet.
As of March, the meetings, which take place at noon on the second Thursday of each month, will take place at Calvary Bible Church at the corner of Grove Street and Meadow Lane, according to Calvary’s pastor, Dave Lind.
Joe Kraus, who leads the Project VISION meetings as chairman of the board of directors, said members of the group might take the ACF meeting space for granted. But he pointed out when VISION was first formed:
“We didn’t know where we were going, what our direction would be. Everything was up in the air. In the midst of this unsettled business, Erron approached us, and he said, ‘I think you need a home, and I would like to offer my church as your home.’ He did that on his own initiative. He saw a need in the community and he stepped forward to fill it,” he said.
Kraus said he couldn’t imagine a better friend and neighbor for VISION.
“Even more significantly, just as when Erron came to us early on to offer his church, when he realized this may no longer be available to us, he took the initiative to go find a new home for us. He did. He didn’t call Matt (Prouty, Rutland City Police commander and VISION’s leader) or (me) and say, ‘It’s been wonderful, you need to find a new place.’ He took complete responsibility for that and reached out to another friend who has a very big heart. Together, they solved the problem, almost before we even knew we had a problem,” he said.
Before Kraus thanked Hubbell, the pastor told the VISION members that he was telling them with “heavy heart” about the relocation.
Hubbell said ACF had been in the Howe Center for almost 20 years. He said Joe Giancola had been a good and supportive landlord, but the church got a chance to rent the Rutland Area Christian School where they will have a kitchen, a playground and a gymnasium.
“What we know about relationships is that they grow when people play together and when they eat together. We want to be able have that for the people in our church. We also want to be able to find ways to do that for our community,” Hubbell said.
Hubbell said it had been an honor for the church to host a community organization like VISION.
“You may or may not know this but you’re a part of ACF. We want to be a community church,” he said.
While Hubbell said the agreement between ACF and the Rutland Area Christian School was “not a done deal,” he said he wanted to keep VISION members informed.
Lind said Hubbell told him about the expected change last week. He said his first question was, “What happens to Project VISION?”
Lind said he offered Calvary as a meeting space and then spoke to Prouty.
“We have had a heart for the community anyway. My position is outreach and service into our community, which matches perfectly for us,” he said.
Lind, who has been with Calvary for almost 30 years, said the church is also a polling place so many of the people who regularly attend VISION meetings probably know Calvary already.
“It is our privilege. Our leadership is all 100% for you guys coming. We see what you do, and we want to be a part of that and provide our facility to help facilitate,” he said.
Hubbell said he hopes to have ACF up and running at its new site within the next few weeks.