By Terri Ferguson Smith / email@example.com
The Meridian Star
Bringing a message of hope and acceptance to homeless people in Meridian is one of the missions of medical volunteers who have now gone a step further and added church services.
Christie Rainer, a registered nurse and founder of the People's Charity Clinic in Meridian, said they are now also offering worship services in The Church for All People, across the street from the clinic.
Services are held at noon on Wednesdays across the street from the clinic, which is located at 310 Russell Drive in Meridian.
Pastors from various churches lead the services, but Rainer said there is one rule about ministering to the homeless who attend.
"You can't preach until you have gotten to know them and taken the time to learn what their problems and needs are," Rainer said.
The homeless are often fearful that they will be judged because of their situation and Rainer said it is important that they feel welcome and accepted as they are.
The clinic is hosting a special event this weekend for the homeless and the public.
On Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. there will be a praise service with several local church praise and worship groups, followed by a barbecue meal. This will continue with a worship service. A health fair will be from 1-3 p.m. and will include blood pressure screenings, blood sugar checks, and eye screenings. That will be followed by more singing and praise.
Everyone is welcome to attend the church services and all are welcome to the health fair, but the free barbecue meal is only for homeless people.
Since opening the health clinic last year, Rainer said they have put about 300 homeless people in their database, including 23 children.
"We have found parents who are desperately trying to hold on to their children and trying so hard to find work," Rainer said. "Bringing church services to the homeless is one way of building a sense of belonging for them."
"We need to be, instead of outcasting, in community and share with people and not just come in and make decisions for them and tell them what they need to do," Rainer said.
The sponsors for the Saturday event are Bethany Baptist Church, Faith Baptist Church and Northcrest Baptist Church. Any church that wishes to be a part of this event can call Rainer at 601-482-8442.
"We are so excited to be a part of this intentional ministry for the homeless as we watch lives being transformed in The Church For All People, a faith-based, non-denominational intentional community church for the homeless," Rainer said.