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The mission of Mission Mississippi-Lincoln County is to create racial harmony

Mission Mississippi’s second community Thanksgiving gathering aims to sweep away the lines dividing denominations and races in Lincoln County.

The organization is a state-wide group dedicated to bringing Christians of different races and denominations together. Rev. Anne Matthews of Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Brookhaven heads up the local chapter.

The event Sunday will be held at Victory Baptist Church at 1416 Mallalieu Drive from 6-7 p.m. and includes worship, prayer and a message.

Mission Mississippi moves the service each year. Last year, the gathering was held at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.

“We’re trying to alternate between historically white churches and historically black churches,” Matthews said. “All members of all congregations are welcome to attend.”

The Travelers, a Macedonia M.B. Church singing group, will perform at the service, followed by local singer Andi Cotton. Both are making return performances. They’ll be joined by Rachel Walton, wife of Rev. Wade Walton.

Matthews was one of the first to get on board when the group began to organize a chapter in Lincoln County. There are now over 30 local pastors who are members of the organization.

She said Lincoln County has made a lot of progress over the years, but Mission Mississippi sets out to bridge the continued divide between people one relationship at a time — a goal that resonated with Matthews. Members of the group are encouraged to meet regularly with someone of another race or another denomination in an informal way and get to know each other to understand better where each person is coming from, she said.

“We’re trying to model and build relationships across those lines,” she said. “We’re demonstrating to the community that this actually works. We all worship the same God and we all have reasons to give thanks.”

Financial donations will be accepted at the gathering which will go to the Serio’s Grocery Food Pantry. Matthews is requesting the community’s help concerning the food pantry. She is compiling a needs analysis of the area to be used to help create a soup kitchen at the former store. The questionnaire will be emailed to church representatives upon request. To receive one, email bettymch@bellsouth.net. Matthews is hoping to receive answers by the end of the year. Questions are listed below.

The Lincoln County chapter plans to hold a December lunch at an area restaurant. The next meeting will be Jan. 23 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church at 5:15 p.m.

To get involved in Mission Mississippi call coordinator Betty Herrington at 601-757-6391 or email her at bettymch@bellsouth.net.

Community needs questionnaire for churches and congregations in Brookhaven and Lincoln County:

Please copy and paste with answers into a document and email to bettymch@bellsouth.net by Dec. 31 or email Betty to have questions sent to you.

  1. How frequently (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally) do you get requests for the following: food assistance, rent, utilities, motel, gas, clothing?
  2. What of these needs does your church address (food assistance, rent, utilities, motel, shelter, gas, clothing, medical bills, etc.)?
  3. How do you address these needs? What help do you offer?
  4. What needs are you not able to address that you think need to be addressed?
  5. How is your outreach funded?
  6. How often is your outreach open?
  7. How do people find out about your outreach?
  8. If an outreach directory for Brookhaven and Lincoln County was compiled that listed churches and what they provide for those in need, would you be willing to have your church listed?
  9. Would you be willing to support a community center that could centralize meeting needs?
  10. Would you be willing to designate money in your 2018 budget to help fund a center? (Note: St. Francis wants to create an ecumenical advisory board to involve a number of congregations as they seek to set up a soup kitchen in Serio’s Grocery.

Rev. Anne Matthews