(From left) Dr. Moses McCutcheon of Bethel CDC, John Grisby of Eula’s House, Pastor Kelvin Calloway, Rev. Quanetha Hunt, Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Henery Wilson of Volunteers of America, and O. Fay Swan of Second A.M.E. Church. (photo by Troy Tieuel)
With the number of homeless increasing in America, Bethel A.M.E. and Second A.M.E. Churches have opened their buildings to help.
The two ministries provide food, bed, showers and case management services to 250 people in South Los Angeles.
The opportunity to participate grew from the vision of Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Sr., presiding prelate of the Fifth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church, who directed churches in Southern California to address the needs of their local neighborhoods.
“Bishop Kirkland has challenged pastors and congregations to serve the community by doing ministry that reaches beyond the church walls,” said Bethel Pastor Kelvin T. Calloway.
“Jesus was homeless so how can the church turn its back on the homeless when the Savior of the world was homeless?”
The Rev. Quanetha Hunt, project manager with Volunteers of America, works with several churches and social services agencies. She said, “Multiple denominations are participating in this program which is good because if you look at the faces of clients, they’re from diverse populations and faiths.
“In fact, the face of homelessness has changed. You have more mothers, children, and single fathers sleeping on the streets and in their cars.”
Offering a similar perspective, Bishop Kirkland said, “You would be surprised at the number of homeless people this recession has caused. The homeless are not just those pushing the carts.
“There are people who have really been affected. Some still have jobs, but their homes have been repossessed and they’re really outdoors.
“So I just applaud this program and commend Dr. Calloway, Pastor John Cager of Second A.M.E., and all participants. They’re not getting a lot out of it materially, but they’re getting the joy of helping somebody and doing it for Christ.
“This is what Jesus was calling for. If Jesus were here today, He would be excited about this program. It speaks to the last, the lost, the left out and the looked over,” said Bishop Kirkland.