Sunday, July 7, 2024

Bill Crawford: Grace Place “an oasis for the spirit” in downtown Jackson

The late Democratic Cong. G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery was a mainstay of the Congressional Prayer Breakfast. At Sonny’s memorial service in 2006, former Republican Congressman and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren called the breakfast “an island of fellowship.” Another former Republican congressman, Ed Pease, called it “an oasis for the spirit.”

Would that we had such affirming bipartisan gatherings in our political world today. Instead, we are beset by islands of conflict and oases for the bitter that yield too many perverse political leaders in both parties.

So, it has been heartwarming to learn about an island of fellowship and oasis for the spirit in downtown Jackson.

Grace Place is located on the grounds of Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church (UMC) right in front of the State Capitol.

What is Grace Place? A physical and spiritual haven for those who are homeless and others in need based on the following descriptions from some of the many volunteers:

“A judgment-free, safe place, Grace Place fills a critical need in the Jackson community by providing respect, dignity, and love to our brothers and sisters, some of whom struggle daily with poverty, mental illness, and addiction.”

“A friendly gesture, a loving prayer, and a helping hand greet our guests each morning. They are also afforded a hot, nourishing breakfast, warm and clean clothing, and can even earn their own bicycle for transportation.”

“Grace Place serves as a brief safety and comfort zone, the only such respite for many of our guests.”

“A place of grace, nourishing the spirit as well as the body through prayer and Holy Communion.”

“A tangible example of God’s love.” Who are these devoted volunteers? In addition to Galloway, they come from churches and organizations across the metro area including Parkway Hills UMC in Madison, St. Mark’s UMC in Brandon, St. Luke’s UMC in Jackson, Christ United in Jackson, area Rotary Clubs, the VFW, and more. Add to these others with servant hearts.

Since 2007, Grace Place has provided nutritious meals four mornings a week (St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral covers the fifth day) to an average of 600 distinct guests per year and over 1,200 meals a month.

“Sonny nurtured the prayer breakfast like the master gardener his garden,” noted Geren. Galloway’s Rev. Lori Till nurtures Grace Place and its flock with similar diligence and dedication. “There is something radically transformational in friendship and love,” she says in describing Grace Place's mission.

“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble; then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon” – Isaiah 58:10.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

Galloway has gotten a lot of negative feedback from folks who don’t like the homeless in that part of downtown. They’d rather keep them on the other side of the tracks.

Anonymous said...

There was a time when the two parties worked together and could get things done but not so much now. You have loud mouthed uneducated,uninformed women of both parties trying to take control and they ruined what was once a great institution. If you get the women out of the equation then you will have peace.

Anonymous said...

2:39. yes. yes we have. i’m guessing all
those people who work in that big building across the lawn really don’t want a reminder of the “least of these” mississippians..

Anonymous said...

@3:02 PM is 100% accurate.
if you want to know why political discourse has become so bad, this is why.
Imagine Joy Behar on one side and Michelle Malkin on the other. With Rachel Maddow Anne Coulter forming the other corners of the political compass.

Anonymous said...

As each day passes, Rachel Maddow looks more and more like Woody Allen.

Anonymous said...

The bait is on the water. Surely it will be taken soon.

Anonymous said...

You never look at the mantle when you poking the fire…

Anonymous said...

The "other side of the tracks" has Stewpot. I recall volunteering there as a youth with my mother...I worked as a runner in the pantry receiving/sorting donations and filling bags/boxes of staples for distribution. In college I volunteered in the Kids/Teens program tutoring after school. Every little bit helps; thank you Galloway Grace Place and Stewpot...churches doing what churches do!

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS