ROCKINGHAM — Church people across Richmond County have been invited to come together Saturday morning to provide a “hands-on response to hunger, poverty, homelessness and other crises” that plague families.
The letter — from the Rev. James Brigman of St. Paul United Methodist Church and the Rev. Stella Wall of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Candor — went out in the mail last week, Wall said Friday. Others, Brigman and Wall delivered themselves.
Response has been mixed, Wall said.
“Some were very favorable,” she said, but “some of them went, ‘Aren’t we already doing that?’”
“Our question,” Wall said, was to ask whether enough truly was being done.
“Male pastors” said it was, she said. As for females: “They thought it was time people of God got (beyond the differences) in how they worship (in order to work) for the betterment of everyone … especially our young people.”
Brigman said he feared that “a lot of people don’t have respect for the Church” because so many religious people dwell on their differences and not their similarities.
“We have to become united as God’s kingdom … I don’t care what faith” — or even lack of faith — a person has, he said, remembering an interfaith prayer session he attended in Washington, D.C., after his walk to Congress to advocate for disabled children. That occasion, he said, inspired the current call to work together.
“I’m not saying we could fix this,” he said Friday, referring to gang influence in the county, the presence of opioid addiction here and nationwide, or even to the threat of more school shootings. “But I think we could have bigger impact.
“It’s all right to pray, but sometimes you’ve got to act.”
Wall said Brigman’s children’s ministry had demonstrated to him the needs area families had for help with drug addiction, mental illness and a lack of educational opportunities.
She herself has found young people who don’t know how to get college scholarships, she said — no one has shown them because the youth feared asking, thinking they weren’t people who deserved such opportunities.
“Really, the churches need to stay in touch with each other,” Wall said, “using finances that the Church has, and maybe … the social programs” to address local difficulties.
And not just the priests and ministers, but lay people as well. Churches have doctors and counselors who could become involved, she said.
“We’ve gotten too comfortable inside church,” Brigman said. As his and Wall’s letter exhorts:
“People of all faiths … can join, and put hands and feet to our prayers.”
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]