Church Youth Revitalize City Community Center | Lifestyles

Children at Saint Thomas More Academy, a home school enrichment program run by Saint Aelred Catholic Church in Bishop, were like little worker bees as they completed their chores last week. Their voices rose over the scrum as one group painted icons, another learned how to incubate eggs and a third drew Bible maps.

The creation of Saint Thomas More Academy is just one of the ways Saint Aelred Catholic Church has revitalized the Bishop Community Center since occupying it about a year and a half ago.

The academy, now in its first official year of operation, offers children ages 4 to 18 a two-day program, where children are saturated with scripture and prayer, but also learn music, literature and history.

“Our goal is to educate children, [and] we say education shapes the whole person,” said Reverend Gregory Tipton. “We try to teach children to think well.”

Tipton said the academy helped the church restore the building to its original purpose – a school. The building was transformed into a school in the 20th century.

“We’ve restored this piece of dirt here to one of its original purposes, which was to educate the kids in the area,” Tipton said.

In the basement of the community center, the church has transformed the area into a place of social gathering. The space is used for the church’s Friday fish fries, their Sunday grills, and to host the academy.

One of the biggest renovations to the community center was to turn the upper part into a church.

“We’ve built all kinds of things to flesh out a robust church that allows for all services, rituals and prayers,” Tipton said.

For more on this story, check out the April 7 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores, grocery stores and newsboxes across Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website.

Jill E. Washington