[Editor’s note: This story published on Jan. 17, 2019, in our print edition but was delayed in being posted online due to technical issues.]
Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church at 7289 U.S. 64 is doing its part to help local people affected by the partial federal government shutdown. Its pastor is also encouraging other churches to give aid.
On a recent Sunday night, Pastor Donald Johnson said he asked church-goers to stand up if they had been furloughed. Eight people rose. So he asked for the regular offering that evening to go to those families and for the church’s financial board to match it.
“I wanted to send a message that this is what Christians do,” Johnson said.
The gift was about $1,000 per recipient, but he is aware their needs will continue while the furlough continues. Two more furloughed employees also have since come forward, one who works for the Centers for Disease Control and the other for the Coast Guard.
Johnson said another donation will be taken at a Sunday morning service if these people miss another paycheck, and he predicted the donations will double. His church has also researched other resources that can help the furloughed individuals, including a local food bank.
“What we believe in the Christian community is being led by the Word of God and the spirit of God to try to help,” he said. “I would encourage other pastors in their own way to reach out and help. The amount of money is not the point. It’s the effort.”