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Church aims for hearts with a meal

For years, the good people of St. James M.B. Church on East Monticello Street have fed the flocks for free at Christmas, but organizers didn’t feel that was enough. They wanted to do more.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, they’ll open their hearts and kitchen to the public for a community dinner. They’re serving a spaghetti dinner with all the fixings — cooked by the ladies in the St. James Women’s Ministry — and it’s all free.

Clara Sanders, one of the women who minister with her cooking, expects a large turnout this year and abundant sunshine.

“We had a big crowd last year and it provided a special opportunity for people to fellowship and enjoy a nice meal,” she said. “For years we have offered the community a Christmas meal during the holidays. We decided to add an Easter season program this year.”

Roy Smith, program director for the Community Action Group of Brookhaven, believes that church participation, youth sports and other activities offered by the church for both children and adults to come together in a safe environment can benefit the entire community.

“It’s great to see people enjoying themselves and what better way than having good food for the community?” he said. “This is the way we can help others and help ourselves as well.”

St. James is the oldest African-American church in Brookhaven, according to its website. It has only moved once since it was organized by the Rev. George Black of Vicksburg in 1866. It started on South First Street and eventually found its home at 949 E. Monticello Street.

Over the years a number of pastors have led the congregations at St. James. Rev. Black was followed by two brothers, Sim A. Jordan and Jesse J. Jordan. Next came W. L. Magee, William L. Creshon, P. T. Thadison, Clarence Coleman, Sister Jeanette Markham Coleman and Percy Dixon. The man behind the pulpit these days is Rev. Larry Jointer.

For more information about the free dinner, call 601-320-0019.

Story by Johnny Rainer