ROCKINGHAM — People of all faiths — or no particular faith — are invited to meet again July 21 to seek community-wide answers to poverty, homelessness and other difficulties that plague Richmond County families.
The Rev. James Brigman of St. Paul United Methodist Church and the Rev. Stella Wall of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Candor are behind the effort, which held its first meeting in May.
Since then, Brigman has extended personal invitations to non-Christians, including Muslims and Hindus.
“We’re trying to build a faith base to get out into the community and start talking to different people … so we can begin addressing needs,” Brigman said Friday, mentioning specifically the elderly, single parents and working-class families who struggle.
He and Wall want “people (to) see us in the community, working together … as people of faith.”
The coming meeting will be at 11 a.m., at Leath Memorial Library, 412 E Franklin St., Rockingham. The first was at Brigman’s church, St. Paul United Methodist, and Brigman worried that some people might be uncomfortable attending a church of a particular denomination.
Last May, he said he feared that “a lot of people don’t have respect for the Church” because so many religious people dwelt on their differences and not their similarities. Meeting in a neutral place, he said, might make everyone more comfortable.
“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, referring to gang influence in the county, the presence of opioid addiction, “but I think we could have bigger impact.
“It’s all right to pray, but sometimes you’ve got to act.”
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]