A stranger bearing gifts

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

A stranger walked into New Bethany Christian Church UCC a week before Christmas.

He handed a Christmas card to pastor Douglas Jones, said he appreciated the work the church was doing and left.

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Pastor Douglas Jones opened the card and found a check for $5,000. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Jones did not want to say what race the man was, but a church member present indicated he was white. New Bethany is a predominantly black church.

A strange white man coming unexpectedly into a black church could be cause for alarm, given the rash of church shootings over the past couple of years.

Not this time.

“It was a blessing,” said Jones of the gift. The donor wants to remain anonymous, he said.

When people want to bless you they don’t say much, Jones said, adding that his church has received numerous blessings and donations from individuals and other churches, so it wasn’t a complete surprise.

The church had recently completed the majority of repairs to its building, which had been ongoing for some time. It is located at 15496 Benn’s Church Blvd.

As for being fearful of a stranger coming into the church, Jones points out that violence can happen anywhere.

“We can’t be scared of who is going to come,” said Jones.

There are many more people doing good in the world and that isn’t often reflected in the media, Jones said.

As for the church, the 50-60 member congregation plans on hosting a formal dedication in February. New Bethany had been looking at some renovations a few years ago when a heavy snow revealed a roof that was in bad shape, causing the front of the church to bow, said Jones.

The congregation decided to go ahead and have the roof replaced at the same time as the other renovations.

“We’re still full of joy,” said Jones of the updated church building.  {/mprestriction}