Ministerial Alliance meeting - L-R: Debra Caughron, Sit'em Down Cowboy Church; Dr. Jack Hetzel, First United Methodist Church; Helen Ellard and Jerome Ellard, New Beginnings Christian Fellowship; Marsha Buchheit, Sit'em Down Cowboy Church; Gay Ingram, Agape House Assistant Director; and Sharon Hill, Full Charity Gospel Chruch and Agape House Director.

By Gay Ingram

It began when some folks saw their neighbors in need and wanted to help. The Ministry House, as it was known then, began offering food, clothing, and household items to the less-fortunate of our community under the acting directorship of Deborah Leakie of New Fellowship in 1992.

Several area churches recognized this volunteer-run effort as a way to combine their forces and they formed an alliance to oversee Agape House activities. Some of the original members of what would become the Big Sandy Ministerial Alliance included Brown’s Chapel C. M. E., Gospel Lighthouse, New Hope Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, and First United Methodist Church.

Agape House began life in a house located beside Two Rivers Grocery Store but soon moved to its own building at 306 N. Tyler. Outgrowing that building, last November the Ministerial Alliance purchased the former First Christian Church building where Agape House is now located.

Besides managing the affairs of Agape House, the Big Sandy Ministerial Alliance has initiated many projects and events in its efforts to serve the spiritual and corporal needs of our community through the years. They have joined forces to hold several community-wide services including a Good Friday Service, Easter ‘Sonrise’ Service, National Day of Prayer Observance, Back to School Prayer Walk, Community Thanksgiving Service, and Christmas Walk.

Through donations from both churches and individuals, Agape House food baskets are distributed at Thanksgiving and Christmas, along with sponsoring the Angel Tree project which provides Christmas presents for some of the children of the community.

On the community calendar for the remainder of this year is the Honor Our Heroes event, Fun in Fall which co-insides with the Pecan Festival, plus several churches will hold Trunk or Treats activities. The Ministerial Alliance also provides bibles that are distributed to graduating seniors.

After much hard work, the Articles of Unincorporated Nonprofit Association were recently approved and incorporated at the last meeting. Any church that participates with the ministerial alliance is considered a member and can be represented at the meeting by the pastor and a lay member. The Ministerial Alliance meets the second Wednesday of each month on a rotating basis at membership churches. For meeting location, you may contact the Agape House staff at 903-636-4471.