Oxford, NC – St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church hosted a dinner and silent auction on Saturday, October 13, 2018 in the Parish Hall. The event was very successful, as we raised about $6,000 for the Hope House and Orange Street Project to reduce crime, help area residents find employment and provide transitional housing for men re-entering the work force.
Present at the event was Pastor Ronnie Morton, who introduced some key individuals involved in this mission. Wayne Edwards of Cozart & Edwards, PA was present to speak about Converting Heart Ministries, the rehabilitation component. As he said, there is great need for transitional housing – safe places where we can send folks who are recovering from drug or alcohol addictions. The Hope House will be just that – a safe-haven, where young men are required to have a job, get active in the church, and become contributing members of our community.
As Mr. Edwards acknowledged, he grew up nearby and knew the dangers that exist on Orange Street, but now, with the efforts of Pastor Morton and others, he would feel safe walking his dog down the street. In the end, Mr. John Muforza, a member of Greater Joy Baptist Church stood up to conclude the evening with a moving account of his life and how this ministry in its earliest days saved his life and gave him hope. He gave everyone present a tangible reason why all of us, every citizen of Oxford and beyond should support this mission.
Also present, was Mr. Paul Langston, the Director of Mission for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Not only was he present to reiterate the organizations firm support of the Hope House and Orange Street Project, but he made the surprise announcement that the Baptist State Convention would match dollar for dollar what St. Stephen’s Church raised Saturday night. This was met with an enthusiastic applause. Therefore, it is exciting to report that with this contribution St. Stephen’s and others have raised about $12,000 for this ministry, and it will be secured at Union Bank until construction begins.
The Rev. Dr. James L. Pahl, Jr., Rector of St. Stephen’s said, “As we heard the moving accounts of what the Hope House stands for and what has and will be accomplished, I could not help but think, ‘Here is the Director of Mission for the Baptist State Convention speaking at an event at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Oxford, and many of the folks present for the event are Baptists!’ You know, Baptists and Episcopalians have some real differences, but we all do look to Jesus! It strikes me that more churches need to partner with us and Greater Joy Baptist to bring this change about. Everyone wants to have their own projects and ministries, and often that is a detriment to our community, as there is too much duplication and our efforts are often stifled. But when we join and work together for a common purpose, like the Hope House and the restoration of Orange Street and others, we are improving our community, and at the same time fulfilling our mission of faith to bring hope to the destitute. It’s a faith-based partnership and we are simply doing our part. I call on all pastors, their congregations, and members of the community at-large to join us!”
Going forward, the plan is to have another special event early some time next year and hopefully organized in partnership with other churches. In the meantime, if you want to get involved or have questions about the Hope House and the overall Orange Street Project, please feel free to contact Pastor Ronnie D. Morton of Greater Joy Baptist Church at email@example.com or (919) 685-0290; or St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 693-9740.