Morrisons donate building to church
Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 18, 2015
A church congregation without a building note to pay can have a tremendous impact on the community it serves.
That’s what Kelvin Rankin is planning to do with the congregation he pastors. Rankin leads the Bread of Life Church of the Nazarene in Vicksburg.
The Morrison Company, LLC recently donated their former company headquarters at 4920 U.S. 61 South to the church.
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“It’s a very nice gift that has been given, the building was in very good condition.” Rankin said. “Out of that church we’re trying to take advantage of not having any church debt to create some programs to help the community at large.”
The congregation runs between 25 to 60 people, and Rankin has enlisted the help of a “motley crew” of talented individuals to minister to the needs of the community, particularly the area of south Vicksburg.
“Eventually we want to get to the point where have an outreach program for the elderly, children and to host summer programs,” Rankin said. “Most importantly we want to work with families and make it an entire place for the family.”
The church started out in Rankin’s house and eventually Rankin approached the Morrisons about leasing the building that once housed the Morrison Company’s headquarters.
At one time 50 employees worked there, and after the company sold their store and Fuelman operation, a few employees continued to work there. But it didn’t make sense for them to work in such a large building, Bob Morrison III said.
The company attempted to sell the building for a number of years without any success.
“Rankin felt there needed to be a church in the U.S. 61 South area and approached us several times about leasing the building,” Morrison said. “We really were hoping to sell the building, and we didn’t want to lease it.
“After I met him for the first time, I really liked him and he’s a really great guy, so we decided to lease them the building,” he said. “It was a lease to purchase agreement, because we still thought we needed to sell it.”
The congregation moved into their leased building and they continued to grow. As the church grew an opportunity opened for the Morrisons to donate the building to the church. Morrison and his brother Cooper Morrison talked and prayed about it and they decided to go ahead with the donation.
In appreciation of the gift, the church dedicated the chapel portion in honor/memory of their mother, Martha Cooper “Twick”Morrison. Morrison’s mother was a very active part of the United Methodist Community in Vicksburg and had a tremendous heart for missions and caring for others in undeveloped nations.
“They had a dedication service on Palm Sunday for her and for the chapel and it was very emotional and uplifting for me and my family,” Morrison said.
The building is large enough for the church to grow into and expand their outreach programs.
“It provides us an opportunity to grow and to build relationships that support the ability for individuals to move beyond financial, emotional, and intellectual poverty,” Rankin said.
Rankin is currently employed with AmeriCorps NCCC. He graduated from Alcorn State University with a bachelor’s of arts in English communications. He served in the Army from 1992 through 2006.
After his discharge from the Army, Rankin felt compelled to get his minister’s license.
“The hero in the whole deal is Kelvin, he started this church from scratch,” Morrison said. “The donation is the easy part and the type of guy who will start something from nothing and take no compensation for it is the type of guy we want to support.”
The church meets twice a week on Sunday at 11 a.m. and Wednesday at 6 p.m.