Madison Magazine April-May 2019 - Page 17

Meet Your Neighbor Pastor V irgil G ardner: tor t eo e to thi W hen Pastor Virgil Gardner thinks about community service, he thinks about work- ing for others as a servant, and working within the community. “As Jesus said, ‘You can’t do everything within four walls.’ To me that means that in order to be effective in community service, you have to get out and into the community,” Gardner said. A native of Richmond, Gardner has served as pastor of the Pleasant Green Predestination Baptist Church for the past seven years. He was also a volunteer member of the Richmond Human Rights Commission, where he recently finished up a three-year term; is a member and past presi- dent of the Richmond Ministerial Association; and is a member of the Tates Creek Predestina- tion Baptist Association. As a member of the Richmond Human Rights Commission, Gardner worked with other members to receive and investigate complaints of discrimination and human rights viola- tions. He said if the commission finds proba- ble violations, they forward the complaint to the state human rights commission in Louisville for further investigation and possible legal action. He said these matters are usually re- solved without the need for legal proceed- ings. The Richmond Ministerial Association, which meets monthly, is composed of ministers of churches in Richmond, and is primarily concerned with helping people, Gardner said. One of last year’s undertak- ings was devising a plan to help people who find themselves stranded on local highways and had limited means. He said the group came up with a plan to help such folks, providing them with temporary shelter and other resources, after verifying their need. hoto b o e r ourt er t He said this year the association is working on ways to provide shelter for the homeless in the community. Gardner said these initiatives are de- signed to help all people in genuine need. “We don’t discriminate on the basis of religion,” Gardner said. “We’re all about unity.” Gardner said his involvement with the Tates Creek Presdestination Baptist Asso- ciation is an opportunity “to get together with people of like faith for fellowship weekends.” He said representatives of member churches meet in different locations to discuss various programs and activities and share knowledge and experiences, so it’s an educational experi- ence. The group meets monthly in various locations. Reflecting on service to the community, Gardner said, “I think in this day and time, community service is something that is very needed.” “I think the most ful- filling thing for me is meeting new people and preaching the Gospel,” he said, adding that right now his most important role at this point in his life is being pastor of his church. Gardner has two children: Brian Davis, a middle school principal in Louisville, and Victoria Baxter, a social worker work- ing with children in Atlanta. He also has two grandchildren: Lane Davis, 3, and Amira Baxter, 2. While his busy lifestyle doesn’t leave much time for hobbies, Gardner said he enjoys singing. He used to be a member of a now-defunct local band, “The Tech- niques.” “Nowadays I volunteer my singing whenever I’m asked,” he said. Of course, Gospel singing is in his repertoire. Gardner said he also enjoys the out- doors and likes hiking. I think the most fulfilling thing for me is meeting new people and preaching the Gospel 12 14 A P R I L- M AY 2 0 1 9 Madison Magazine 15