By Chris Moon
In honor of its late pastor, Joel Wilson, Myrtle Beach Christian Church in South Carolina is working to help and house vulnerable people in its community.
The church recently opened a shelter for mothers in crisis, such as those who come out of abusive relationships or who are homeless. The shelter is located in apartment units adjacent to the church.
The church also is planning 24 senior apartments on its property. It plans to build the first 5 to 10 units next year.
“To God be the glory. You write that,” senior minister Danny Banks told Christian Standard. “We’re not doing this for any fanfare.”
He said the congregation is motivated by the memory of Wilson, who founded Myrtle Beach Christian Church in 1982. Banks joined Wilson a year later, and they served together until Wilson’s death in 2016.
Over the years, Banks said, the church has become known locally and regionally for its work in helping the down and out. It founded a well-known rehabilitation center called Promise Land Ministries. The church also regularly cares for people in the community who need places to stay.
Banks said he remembers conversations he had with Wilson about the church’s efforts.
“He said, ‘Danny, when we die, God’s going to ask us about these people,’” Banks said. “We wanted to carry on his wishes of helping people.”
Will Witt, a member of the church and licensed general contractor overseeing the senior housing project, said the 3 acres of land recently received zoning approval by the county. The hope is work can begin next year.
The project, known as Annie’s Place, will consist of four six-unit buildings. Each unit will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms and total about 900 square feet. The total project is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $2 million to $2.5 million.
“I think it’s going to be a blessing,” Witt said. “I’m honored and humbled to be able to do this.”
The senior homes will be named for Annie Dukes, a longtime member of the church. Long before 1982, Banks said, Dukes had been praying a Christian church would be started in the community.
Meanwhile, the shelter for mothers in crisis and their children has been named Amanda’s Place in honor of Amanda Sessions, another longtime member and a retired educator with a love for children and women.
The church already had existing apartments on its campus. They can house nine families, Banks said.
“Ninety-nine percent of the problem when they are abused is drugs and alcohol. That’s our society today,” Banks said. “In this county, there is nowhere for a woman to go, especially with children.”
Chris Moon is a pastor and writer living in Redstone, Colorado.