Numerous educational, civic, and religious leaders from the Burney and Intermountain community gathered at the Meeting Place at Burney Presbyterian Church to celebrate the Grand Opening of a new Internet Library.
Rev. Penni Elaine Scarbrough cuts the ribbon as Rev. Watkins, Rev. Scarbrough, and Superintendent Hawkins look on
The Internet Library will be open to the public on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3 PM to 6 PM, with priority given to local students doing homework and research for school projects. Job seekers will also be encouraged to utilize the library’s services for creating resumes and researching employment opportunities.
Rev. Penni explaining the purpose of the internet library to Cindy Dodds and Laurie Jacobs
The program began at 3 p.m. with a reception and refreshments. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 4 p.m.
The Grand Opening was hosted by Rev. Penni Elaine Scarbrough, pastor of the Burney Presbyterian Church and her husband Rev. Tim Scarbrough who serves as Administrative Director. Rev. Rob Watkins, Presbyter of the Presbytery of Sacramento came to speak. Rev. Leon Thompson, retired Presbyterian minister from Weed, also attended with his wife Betty.
Community leaders listening to speakers
Amongst educational leaders who came for the opening were Greg Hawkins, Superintendent for the Fall River Joint Unified School District, Burney Junior-Senior High Principal Ray Guerrero, Burney Elementary Principal Marcy Schmidt, elementary teacher Shelly Myers and her husband Rev. Bill Myers from Glen Burn Church. Rev. Myers also serves as a volunteer in the Fall River and Burney elementary schools. Former Superintendent of Schools Larry Snelling and his wife Peggy also attended.
Other civic leaders who came included Cindy Dodds and Laurie Jacobs from the Tri Counties Community Center; Burney Chamber of Commerce President Sandra McCullar; former President of the Burney-Fall River Rotary Club Bill Campbell, and Michael Kerns. Several community volunteers including Lou Hawk also attended.
Rev. Tim Scarbrough welcomed the people and began the ribbon cutting ceremony with a prayer.
Rev. Penni Scarbrough gave a brief talk in which she said the mission of the new internet library is “to enable, enlighten, and encourage people to grow through learning.”
She emphasized that the library is not just for the congregation of the Burney Presbyterian Church but is open for all students and job seekers in the community.
Superintendent Hawkins spoke of the changes that had taken place in education since he began teaching in the 1980’s. He emphasized the increasing importance of technology and told the audience that all junior and senior high school students now have Google Chrome notebooks as also do elementary school students from the second grade up.
He also said that many of the students do not have internet access in their homes and therefore stressed the value of a facility such as this where they can not only use the available computers, but also access the Internet with their notebooks using the library’s Wi-Fi.
The final speaker was Rev. Watkins. He gave a touching talk stressing two points. The first was that the Meeting Place was there to serve the whole community. The Burney Presbyterian Church is the most northern church in the Sacramento Presbytery which consists of 7,000 members throughout Northern California. Those churches that are most effective are those that are engaged in serving their communities. The Presbytery is happy that the church in Burney is striving to serve as a Meeting Place and supports that effort.
In the second point, he said that Jesus may never have talked about the Internet, but he did talk a lot of about the importance of children. Quoting from the Book of Proverbs he stressed the importance of children seeking wisdom and understanding. He spoke of these in terms of understanding oneself and the world. Rev. Watkins told how his son has now worked on five continents and hopes to work in all seven. He said that the Internet Library would be a “safe place” where children can use the Internet to “awaken to the wonders of the world” in a healthy educational environment.
Reverend Watkins affirmed his conviction that “every person is an unique act of God’s creative will.”
God is good and gracious and every child is precious. Every child, indeed every person, deserves the opportunity to develop their talents and abilities in a healthy loving environment in order to improve themselves and make a better world, perhaps even to help create the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
The Meeting Place is located at 20435 Marquette St. in Burney, CA. For more information about the Internet Library call (530) 335-2271.