Inner City Church Raises $1 Million to Support Outreach Ministries

WI Staff Writer | 2/3/2010, 3 p.m.

A wave of applause swept over the congregation as Bishop Alfred Owens, senior pastor of Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church in Northeast, presented Bank of America officials with a check for $1 million raised by his congregation over the course of one year.

€This is truly amazing,€ the pastor said.

€At a time when we were in a recession, economic decline and other financial hardships, you still sacrificed to support this vision; to reduce our debt,€ Owens said. Every Sunday for one year, members contributed $1,000 -- some more -- until they reached their goal.

Nineteen years ago, members purchased the church at 610 Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast, then expanded its properties to include a Family Life Center with a rooftop basketball court and buildings to house the church€s HIV, drug and job training ministries along with its food and clothing banks. The church has since added a bookstore to the center.

Most of the church properties that line Rhode Island Avenue are pastel blue which Bishop Owens said encourages visitors and neighbors €to look up.€ At a time when many churches have fled the District, Owens decided to reach out to those most in need in the city.

Bishop Owens said that faith played a major role in this massive undertaking.

€We had few resources, but great faith.€

€When things looked impossible, God showed up,€ he said.

Owens said that when the congregation initially moved into the church in 1991, they barely had enough members to fill the first level of the massive church, but membership increased by leaps and bounds. Soon the church offered two services.

During the Sunday services Owens presented Patricia Brooks-Nobles, a Bank of America senior vice president, with an award for taking the lead in funding the loan package when other banks turned them down. She was also applauded for staying the course with the church over the years.

Nobles commended Greater Mt. Calvary for providing the leadership that has attracted an economic revival in Northeast along the Rhode Island Avenue corridor.

€Your dedication to development has contributed to the revitalization of the entire area. More stores have moved in. In fact, since the relationship was established, Bank of America has moved into the neighborhood with a branch near the church,€ Brooks-Nobles said.

Owens has been a pastor for more than 40 years. He was recently appointed Bishop of the Mount Calvary Holy Churches of America with 70 churches in the United States, England, Italy and the Caribbean. In addition he was also elected Archbishop of the College of Bishops last year.