New Wheels Christened at Laughlin Chapel

Summer Jam staff and children are shown in front of the new bus recently acquired by Laughlin Memorial Chapel in Wheeling.

They prayed, they sang and then they poured water on their new bus.

Children who attend Laughlin Memorial Chapel on 18th Street in Wheeling took part in a christening ceremony for the chapel’s new school bus Monday morning outside the chapel.

The bus represents a means of transportation for young people attending the chapel’s Summer Jam, as well as other after-school programs who otherwise would not have the means to get there, said Laughlin Chapel Executive Director Dr. Georgia Kurko.

The new bus was purchased after the older bus turned its last wheel during the previous school year. It is being purchased through the new Chapel Plus+ Fundraising Campaign. Donations are still needed to pay off the bus.

According to board president Darryl Clausell, the campaign will help raise funds to support safety, security and stability to Laughlin Memorial Chapel and the students and families it serves. Donations are accepted online through the website at www.laughlinmemorialchapel.org or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 6195, Wheeling, WV 26003.

During the christening ceremony, two students, Cahmira Baylor and Justin Tucker, climbed a step ladder with adult assistance and poured “baptismal” water on the front of the bus while other youngsters and chapel personnel watched. Kurko offered a prayed of thanks for the bus and for the children and families it serves.

“We are thankful for the driver, the aide and the team that keeps the kids safe. … This bus is here because nothing is too big for God to do,” Kurko said.

Clausell said the bus will “do us a lot of good.” He said the new mode of transportation “is another step and page in Laughlin Chapel’s journey.”

The second Summer Jam event at Laughlin Chapel is slated for 10:30 a.m. today, when nationally recognized musician and speaker Elec Simon will host an anti-bullying program. The program is sponsored by Mansuetto Roofing of Martins Ferry. Simon was born in Smithfield and performs with a jazz group that travels internationally, recently returning from a performance in Africa. He also secured a spot in the Broadway show “Stomp.”

Laughlin Memorial Chapel offers a nondenominational Christian faith-based environment in which children are nurtured and encouraged to learn, grow, and thrive. There is no charge to families for the chapel program; the mission is supported by grants and donations from trusts, congregations, community service groups, families and individuals.

In addition to Summer Jam, children are provided homework support, tutoring and academic instruction, and other enrichment activities that include exposure to the fine arts, clubs and physical fitness activities. Volunteers and mentors are various ages serve the children, allowing them to develop caring relationships.

Afterschool Jam is open throughout the school year to grade school and middle school students. The high school group known as Teen Jam meets regularly at the chapel with adult mentors.

Known as Laughlin Memorial Chapel since 1946, First Presbyterian Church began using it as a ministry for children and families in the Wheeling area. Through the decades, the after school and summer programs have evolved into very important resources for children and families throughout Ohio County.

For more information on the programs, or to donate, visit the website at laughlinmemorialchapel.org or find them on Facebook and Instagram at Laughlin Memorial Chapel.

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