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Rain Fails to Dampen Pastors' Spirits
03/31/2016 - By Matt Smith/msmith@trcle.com - Cleburne Times Review
Wednesday’s steady drizzle revived rather than subdued the morales of several Cleburne area pastors hard at work in the 800 block of North Wilhite Street.

“Because I always feel called to serve, a servant of Jesus,” First Mt. Zion Pastor Willie Stevenson when asked why he was running around in the rain with hedge clippers.

Twenty some area pastors were on hand alongside Stevenson Wednesday morning in addition to several city officials and workers from Dugger Electric all hard at work prepping and cleaning William Warrens 1930s era home and yard.

Painting and additional repairs are scheduled Saturday, part of Christmas in Action’s annual big blitz event, which will also tackle eight other Cleburne homes in need.

The pastors on hand Wednesday, all members of the Cleburne Ministerial Cooperative, spent the morning scraping paint from Warren’s house, cutting limbs and clearing brush and debris from his backyard.

“The whole point and purpose here is unity of our community by bringing the churches of Cleburne together to serve God under one banner,” Cleburne Ministerial Cooperative President Todd Barham said. “What better way to do that than to get our hands dirty and help someone out.

“You read the Bible and it tells you to get out, serve your community and come together, not just to sit in the pews. And that’s what today is about.”

CIA addresses home repair needs for elderly, disabled and lower income residents by hosting one large scale event each year and several emergency projects throughout the year.

Saturday’s blitz begins at 8 a.m. Those interested in volunteering should meet at the Caddo Street Grill parking lot, 211 S. Caddo St.

“We have several groups who have already signed on as sponsors and teams, Wal-Mart Distribution, William’s Oil and Westhill Church of Christ,” CIA Board Secretary Teresa Bednar said. “But we always need more help and everyone’s welcome to join in. Just show up and we’ll get you assigned to a project.”

Soaked but undaunted, Heights Church Pastor Kody Hughes cheerfully scraped paint from the upper reaches of Williams’ house Wednesday morning.

“I saw today as a good opportunity to do something I love, which is to build relations with other pastors in the community, work hard for our community and try to be an example,” Hughes said when asked what inspired him to join in. “We’re all out here this morning just doing what we should all be doing.”

Landon Ledlow, leader of 6 Stones Cleburne, commended the pastors busy at work around him.

“This is great to see all of them coming together to help out,” Ledlow said. “Especially when you consider we just had Easter and they’ve just gone through the heaviest, busiest week of their year. All these guys are just zapped and worn out from last week but still they’re all glad to be here.”

Warren, surveying the flurry of activity surrounding him, said he’s was certainly glad to see the pastors and their fellow volunteers arrive Wednesday morning.

“Like I told one of these fellows a few minutes ago, ‘If it wasn’t for you all showing up to help out I’d still be trying to clean up a year from now if I had to do it myself.’

“And to think they’re working out here in the rain.”

Ledlow said that help goes both ways.

“What impresses me about Mr. Warren is that when he learned we were coming to help out he was excited and the reason why is because he said he wanted to share his faith with the people who share their faith with the community.

“So you have the pastors here who share their faith from the pulpits to help the community and here we have one of our residents sharing his faith to help those pastors. That’s pretty special and indicative of what we want to see this type of collaborative effort accomplish and grow into.”

Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain, who appeared to be having a bit too much fun attacking errant tree limbs with a chainsaw, characterized the project as a morning of pliers and prayers.

“It’s funny,” Cain said. “I don’t see any of the Freedom From Religion folk out here helping. If they can complain about things they ought to at least join in and help too.”

Join in

CIA depends on both volunteers and donations, Bednar said.

“Everything we do is done on donated dollars,” Bednar said. “That’s the only way we’re able to help people out and get things done. We always need volunteers but we also always need donations and people or groups who want to sponsor a project.”

To volunteer, donate or learn more about CIA, call 817-774-6316 or visit www.christmasinaction.net
On the web: CleburneTimesReview.com

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