Chism serves in multiple roles at church
By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist
One may wonder what keeps LaVerne Gaines Chism energized for the many roles in her life and all of the work she does at her church, Saints Assembly Seventh Day Holiness Church.
It can be summed up in her favorite scripture, Nehemiah 8:10, which reads: “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Yahweh: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Yahweh is your strength.”
Little did Chism, affectionately known as “Bonnie,” know that a two-week missions trip to Jamaica in 2001 would turn out to be her call as a missionary.
The program provided health screening for diabetes, high blood pressure, dental services and the distribution of care packages containing personal items and toiletries.
“I enjoyed it very much,” said the 56-year-old. “I have a servant’s heart. I want to help people. It gives me great joy to do for others, because I am a servant.”
A member of the church since 1994, her work as a missionary continues through the distribution of fruit baskets to community residents, visitation to nursing homes, hospitals and residences in the community.
Chism performs a number of duties and roles within the congregation, and supports the church monetarily through tithing and offering.
“I have done it all,” she said. The list includes: choir member, lawn care and janitor. Currently, her primary responsibilities are administrative and secretarial, kitchen staff and facilitator for the Sabbath School department.
She volunteered as a teacher’s aide at a local elementary school through Virginia College. She volunteered on the disaster relief team during the 2011 tornado that ripped through Birmingham.
Relief efforts consisted of providing clothing and canned food items.
“We got out in the community, they were good about coming together, it was a requirement of the job,” she said.
Chism loves westerns and takes time from her busy schedule to indulge in her favorite pastime, especially on her time off and on weekends.
She also enjoys vegetable gardening and caring for the dozens of plants that adorn her home.
Chism’s sense of humor and big smile make her a joy to be around.
The second of six children, the Chicago, Illinois native married her spouse, Jerome (Joe), four years ago.
They have three children and five grandchildren.
She became a member of RSVP in 2019.