Very rarely does anyone know they are making history while they are making it,” said Mary Nelson, member of the Gulf Coast Church in Biloxi, Miss,. during her opening speech at the dedication event in Selma, Ala.
This special event was arranged to create a starting point for a new community ministry, Cornerstone of Health – Selma, founded by Nelson, and supported by numerous friends and family members. The property being dedicated belongs to the Nelson family, who lived in it from 1992 to 1997. Since that time, it has sat vacant, but Nelson felt there was some purpose for it; she just didn’t know what. While visiting the Cornerstone of Health community center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., founded by Tanja Richards, Nelson saw the potential for the property in Selma to become a similar center of influence, and she got to work.
Nelson started pooling her resources and began working with Melanie Jones, member of the Gulf Coast Church and owner of 123 Organize and Design, to start making plans for renovation of the home that sat vacant for 20 years. Nelson also worked with another church member, Elvie Guthrie-Lewis, on organizing the educational components that the center will offer. Many others became involved, and Nelson reached out to the city of Selma about the project. City officials welcomed the idea of a community center and worked closely with Nelson to take the proper steps in converting the property for its new purpose.
As plans progressed, a dedication event was scheduled for January 17, 2021, at the home in Selma. On the day of the event, among the attendees and presenters were Henry Thompson, director of planning and development for Selma; Clay Carmichael, City councilman; Cody Miller, pastor at Temple Gate Seventh-day Adventist Church; and Micheal Rodriguez, pastor at Gulf Coast Seventh-day Adventist Church. As they offered their speeches from the front walkway to the home, several presenters noted the connection between the event focused on community betterment, the proximity of the event date to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and King’s work in the Selma area.
Information packs along with healthy snacks were distributed to the event attendees, and the event concluded with a prayer and statement of dedication from Rodriguez and Nelson. Renovations on the property are slated to begin in the near future. Watch a recording of the event and learn more about the project at www.gscsda.org/gsc-today/cornertstoneselma.
Gulf States | April 2021
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