The Chapel’s Gift of Hope-Reverend Kenneth Brown’s Story

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Dear Reader:

From New Zealand to Gadsden, Alabama, St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope once again brings hope and faith to another pilgrim -named Reverend Kenneth Brown… by providing him the guidance he needed to make a life-altering decision.

bilde (1)I have talked twice to Rev. Kenneth Brown on the phone and both times I am a better person for the conversation. He and his wife, Margaret, are truly inspiring.

One time while visiting St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope, myself, with Honey, we looked for cards left behind with people’s names and contact information on it…perhaps accompanied by a line of scripture or an explanation of the effect of their visit to the chapel on their lives. A story waiting to be told.

Suddenly Honey held up a card….with Kenneth Brown’s name and contact number at a church in Gadsden, Al. I don’t remember exactly what he wrote but it was something to the effect that he had made a life-altering decision during his unexpected visit to the chapel.

At the time he was pastor of a small, aging congregation that to some older pastors might seem like a “cushy” job. But not to Rev.Kenneth Brown. He wasn’t ready to ride out into the sunset yet….God was letting him know that he still had a purpose and goal left…only Rev. Brown wasn’t sure  exactly what that was.

reflective-warning-signs-rock-slide-area-vc1704-lgHe and his wife were discussing this on their way to Winston-Salem for a Baptist conference when suddenly he saw the road was closed ahead….rock slide. “Oh no” he thought…we will never get there.”

There were detour signs and more detours signs and before he knew it…(like Kenneth told me on the phone a few days ago) he was as “lost as a single snowflake in a snowstorm”….everything looked the same to him while completely unknown simultaneously.

Somehow (we all know how) he ended up in Trust, North Carolina at St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope. The decision he and his wife had been discussing prior to the detours was concerning him leaving the little congregation to do something to help the greater community of Gadsden…. To open and run a soup kitchen for the hungry.

The recession had hit and unemployment was sky high in this poor area of Alabama. For Kenneth…it was a “no brainer”…these people and their families needed physical and spiritual food to get them through this financial crisis. His wife Margaret supported his decision whole-heartedly.

The decision took “root” at the unexpected visit to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope. He heard the voice clearly now and knew what his new mission in life should be. The rock slide was the best thing that happened to him….Trust God to send a powerful detour to steer His children in the right direction.

When I first called the number on the card that Kenneth left behind several years ago….I was told he was no longer at this church (North Highland Baptist Church) but was kindly given the telephone number of the Way of the Cross Ministries.  Rev. Kenneth Brown took over as head director in 2009.

I caught him just as he had finished feeding the masses that day. I remember shaking my head in disbelief at his “conversion”  story from his visit at the little chapel of hope.

Three days ago….when I called again…I “hit” him at the same time and it was as if no time had passed since our last conversation except for the amazing growth of this soup kitchen which Kenneth is quick to point out….doesn’t serve soup but meat, two vegetables, bread and dessert.

This past year The Way of the Cross Ministries served almost 60,000 people. Approximately 300 people eat lunch there each day. His wonderful wife, Margaret, is head of the kitchen crew, they have eight loyal “board members” who have the preparation and serving process down “pat” -accompanied by over 200 volunteers.

When I asked how he got so many volunteers…he replied simply “God sends them to us.” We have never gone wanting for them.”

In response to a question I asked concerning the length of time he plans to stay on as Executive Director of the Way of the Cross Ministries Soup Kitchen…he said until the day he doesn’t show up…which means he has moved on to his Glory. The same goes for his wife Margaret. He admitted that they were both “workaholics.”

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I am providing a link that will give you more information on this amazing “soup kitchen” and an email address for you to contact Kenneth Brown if you feel so inclined to leave a message or even give a donation under this subtitle on the page.

How to Volunteer – Way of the Cross Soup Kitchen

So until tomorrow…When God calls…let us listen and follow.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

God sent me an angel yesterday with a brownie in hand by the name of Gin-g. She couldn’t find my blog yesterday and was worried something was wrong. A couple of days ago…this happened to Johnny Johnson and he emailed immediately asking if something was wrong.

Mover over “Big Red: I do believe the new “health o’meter” is the blog. I feel like a lighthouse when I get your concerned emails over the absence of a blog showing up on your computer….you check to see if the light is still on and the operator still typing.

I don’t know why some of you experience a lapse in the blog…it goes out every day around 6:00 or a little after in the morning….it’s a mystery to me. But thanks for checking on me in the process!

IMG_0579Gin-g….you notice the brownie (in the photo) you brought me yesterday is 1/2 a brownie….temptation won out….must take the photo quickly now before there is no brownie! Yummy! (PS Thanks for all the help yesterday moving Mandy’s work desk from the garage.)

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Rutledge’s first love…Cinderella! Not bad, huh? He was the only little boy at his girl cousin’s (Madeline) birthday party….he was surrounded by all the “Princess” guests. Didn’t bother him a bit…but he was only attracted to the ‘older woman’….sat on the floor beside her….as she posed with all the guest princesses…he’s in everyone’s photo from the party.

John emailed this photo of Jakie flying the coup ( or nest) with his first “big boy” bike…with a little help from big sister, Eva Cate.

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About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to The Chapel’s Gift of Hope-Reverend Kenneth Brown’s Story

  1. Gin-g Edwards says:

    I think that I found the problem…ever once in awhile the my email will put the blog in my spam folder so that was where it was…thank goodness. Glad you enjoyed the brownie. Hope to get to help fix up your “Potter’s Nook”….

    Like

  2. Becky Dingle says:

    So glad you discovered the problem….will pass it on to other readers like Johnny Johnson….to check in their spam or deleted folder. Loved the brownie and you. Anne stopped by for a quick visit yesterday and I shared with her your thoughts…she’s game too,,,.If you hear of an old door or something else we could lay between the saw horses let me know.

    Like

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