Church trades sanctuary for their own community streets

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - If you were driving through Pascagoula or Moss Point Sunday morning, you probably saw a lot of people hard at work.  More than 600 members of Church of the Rock traded their Sunday clothes for yellow t-shirts and put down their hymnals in exchange for work equipment.

The people they were helping told WLOX the morning of service made a big impact on some Jackson County lives.

One of those was Robert Edwards, who is recovering from an addiction that has gripped him for years.  Only a few months out of rehab, he is searching for a job, and living on the streets.

"I need Jesus in my life and I'm trying to get myself together again, and be a productive person of society again," he said.  "And just work and pay bills and start going to church."

Sunday, he got a shower, a haircut and a hot meal from Church on the Rock.  The same things that may be business as usual for many people brought tears of gratitude to Edwards' eyes.

"It means a lot ot me," Edwards said.  "It gives me hope.  And I appreciate them showing the love."

He told WLOX such an act of kindness is rarely extended toward him.  Edwards' life wasn't the only one touched by Church on the Rock Sunday morning.

Members dedicated their regular church time to more than 20 different community tasks as they took their message to the streets.

They passed out bottles of water to thirsty drivers, landscaped school grounds, collected shoes for the needy and performed a myriad of other good deeds.

This year was the church's 3rd year in their "Taking it to the Streets" campaign.  This was Cynthia Borden's 3rd year to participate the "Soles for Souls" portion, where church members collect thousands of pairs of shoes for the needy.

"There's so many people out there that are less fortunate than I am," Borden said.  "And I know that I'm helping those people that maybe can't afford to go out and get a pair of shoes, or get a care package or something that they need, you know.  And its just a joy."

"Taking it to the streets is the perfect opportunity for us as a church staff to motivate our people to understand the value of service," said Chris Erwin, Associate Pastor of Worship and Administration.  "To understand the value of reaching outside the forewalls of our church and compelling people to become people of Christ."

Whether the task is big or small, church members hope the work they've done with their hands will make a big impact on the hearts of others.

"If we can impact one person with the good news of Jesus Christ, then it is worth the 600 people going and doing this [Sunday]," Erwin said.

The message hit home with at least one person.

"I'm hoping one day to be a part of this ministry," said Edwards.

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