Two local churches are crossing denominational lines, one to give and the other to receive.
Hungry House Ministries is a rural community church that suffered severe damage after the building’s roof collapsed under last month’s major snowstorm.
A group of men that started meeting for a prayer and Bible study breakfast at Columbia Christian Church heard about the Hungry House Ministries’ plight and started wheels in motion to offer assistance.
“A neighbor called and said the roof on the church had caved in,” said Pastor Ronnie Rhodes about the Jan. 22 collapse. When he got to the church he saw that the roof had fallen straight down into the main sanctuary, a room of 60 ft. by 100 ft.
While the sanctuary is large enough for 450 theater seats, Rhodes said his congregation of 15 to 20 people often meets in the front area of the church.
Rhodes retired after 31 years at Family Dollar and lives close to the church, which is located on Allen Schoolhouse Road. He said he had the opportunity to purchase the building 12 years ago in a rent-to-own relationship.
“I live right down the road from it,” Rhodes said. “I passed this place every day and thought it would one day make an awesome church.”
The property will be paid for in another year, he said.
“Now this happens,” he said.
Rhodes said the church has insurance coverage of $168,000, but estimates to repair the damage have come in at $185,000 and $200,000.
That’s where the Columbia Church of Christ group comes in.
Tim Johnson and Bobby Morrison lead the group, self-named the Band of Brothers.
Morrison heard about the rural church and asked Rhodes to come to a breakfast meeting of the Band of Brothers.
After talking with Rhodes and surveying the site, the group plans to host a workday Saturday.
“Our goal on Saturday is to get them back where they can meet,” Morrison said.
Johnson said the Band of Brothers started three years ago, meeting for breakfast and having prayer and Bible study. He saw the need for a different way to connect.
“I realize some guys, they are more apt to talk when they get their hands busy,” he said. “We get out and do stuff.”
The group has taken mission trips but also helps right here at home when they see a need. They have built bathrooms, put up wheelchair ramps, and built a house for a man after he lost his home to fire.
While some of the workers on site Saturday may be skilled craftsmen, Johnson said everyone is welcomed and there will be plenty of work to do at all skill levels.
“There is skilled stuff and non-skilled stuff. I’m not skilled,” he said. “I hand them stuff.”
Together, he said, they can get Hungry House Ministries back up and running.
“For now we want to help clean up so they have a place to worship and have Bible study,” Johnson said.
Rhodes said the goal of his church has always been to be a ministry to others and reach outside the church walls. Seeing the work of the Band of Brothers is inspiring, he said.
“It is so fantastic. I’ve been in church all my life. I’ve been ministering; I always wanted to be more of a help, because I wanted to do whatever needed to be done,” he said. “These guys have stepped up and excelled. That’s all I can say, they have excelled.”
Rhodes said he is impressed the group is not concerned about denominational titles.
“We all believe there is one God, and one mediator, which is Jesus Christ, but we let denominational names separate us instead of draw us together,” he said.
Rhodes said he named the church Hungry House because he wanted people who are hungry after God.
“Not about religion. Not about denomination. Just hungry after God and hungry to do the work of God,” he said.
After making the connection with the Band of Brothers, Rhodes said he has no doubt they are starting a longstanding relationship.
“We’re going to be involved together,” he said.
By Sharon Burton