Friday, June 30, 2000

Church members treat drivers to free gas

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Karin Maney hands out cards good for free gas.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
SHARONVILLE - God's presence was felt at the gas pumps Thursday. No, the Almighty didn't throw a bolt of lightning toward sky-high gasoline prices. Actually, a few of his followers helped out Tristate drivers by paying for gasoline between 1 and 2 p.m. at the Sunoco station at Chester and Kemper roads.

"You don't have to use words to show God's love,'' said Lora Versteegh, 22 and a member of Vineyard Community Church. The 6,000-plus member church, just down the street from the gas station, sends out members at least once a week on service projects that show God's love in a practical way.

Cars lined up well down Kemper Road to get their $3 of divinely subsidized fuel, and the church paid for nearly $500 worth of gas for 156 customers by the end of the hour.

"I couldn't believe it,'' said Marsha Wilks of Avondale, who happened to pass through the area in her Ford Explorer when she spotted the congregation of cars at the gas station. ""Helping the fellow man out like this really does show (God's) love.''

The church follows the preachings of St. Francis of Assisi, who believed in expressing God's love without words.

The church's next gasoline discounting will be Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the BP station across from Tricounty Mall on Ohio 747.

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