His house, your house
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Earl Beck sat patiently, alone on a pew, reading a book in the basement of First Congregational Church Tuesday afternoon. His purpose: keeping the church open to anyone needing to get out of the record-low temperatures for the night. Beck, along with two other church members, had done the same thing the night before. But, no one came.
“I’m hoping the reason no one came is because they all have somewhere warm to go,” Beck said.
But, still he waited, just in case someone didn’t have a place to go. Why? Beck said it is all part of what his church is about – reaching out to people in need – no matter what that need may be.
“God said to reach out to everyone,” Beck said. “We were talking about it at the church, and one of the members asked if we should do this. Our pastor, Ray Armstrong, approved it, and everyone was in agreement.”
The matter decided, Beck and fellow members Willie Walker and Billy Threatt took turns manning the church’s basement as temperatures dipped into the low teens and wind chills hovered around zero.
“When no one was here about 9:30 p.m. (Monday night), we decided to call it a night,” Beck said. “But we called the police station and told them if they came across anyone who was cold and didn’t have anywhere to go, to call us and we would come back.”
Tuesday afternoon, Beck said that would be the plan for that night as well.
But why continue to keep the doors open and the heater and lights running when it was entirely possible no one would show up? Beck said the motivation was simple, and a sentiment shared by the church as a whole. If one person is helped, it is worth the effort.
“If people are out there hurting, maybe we can help them,” Beck said.
Simple as that.